The Most Disturbing Short Films at Sundance

January 28, 2014 : 1:23 am | by Maggie Sanger

Sammy Davis Jr. contemplating his morality

Sammy Davis Jr. contemplating his morality

“The Short Film program for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival features an astonishing array of new stories, viewpoints and filmmaking talent, positioning it at the core of our work to discover and share independent perspectives on our culture and world.” – Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth

Two Girls, One Cake was shot on location in Denmark and was the product of the director and screenwriter’s vision. Jens Dahl, plays with our heads and our stomachs in what starts out to be a disgusting take on the porn film “Two girls, one cup.” At first the audience is unsure of the motives of Julie, a girl who bakes a cakes using ingredients that mainly consist of her own poop. If you had not seen the cake being made, you would never guess that this beautifully baked good’s main ingredient would consist of fecal matter. As the plot unfolds, we soon realize that only a short time ago, Julie was suffering from cancer, and her boyfriend at the time slept and started a relationship with her best friend (the recipient of the poop cake.) Julie has still not come to terms with the pain they had both caused her, but after the two girl friends reunite and talk it out, Julie tells her friend what is actually in the cake. The worst part is the guilt that this friend has leaves her with the decision to the right the wrong by eating Julie’s poop cake.

“Jonathan’s Chest” is the story of a troubled young boy, Alex, who is woken up by another boy, similar in age, claiming to be his brother. Alex does not believe this boy at first until Jonathan shows him his chest. He said he was sent to a farm where unspeakable things were done to him. Similar to other indie films I saw at Sundance, this UK director, Christopher Radcliff, does not spell everything out for us. Jonathan convinces Alex that his dissaperance years earlier was not the result of kidnapping, and that their mom was really the “mastermind” of this plan to send Jonathan off, and that Alex was not safe. Jonathan tells Alex that the next morning, he should act normal and pretend to go to school, but then meet up with him so that they can run away together. There is a tense exchange the next morning between Alex and his mom in the kitchen. Then, all of a sudden the film cuts to a scene of Alex running down the street, his shirt and hands covered in blood and tears streaming down his face.

Rat Pack Rat directed by Todd Rohal, is a disturbing short about a disgustingly humorous sick man, played by Steve Little. He is bed ridden, with tubes that look like they weave in and out of every hole in his body. He is fed by these tubes, digests food in these tubes, has bowel movements in these tube, and they Rohal does not hold back in showing the audience the graphics details about how this man’s body operates. Little’s mom hires a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator to visit him for his birthday. The Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator finds himself performing “last rites” at the Little’s bedside, including multiple disturbing performances, not all of them including just singing and dancing to “Candy Man”

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