REW-FFWD (1994)

An interesting, low-key short film directed by Denis Villeneuve. It’s primarily a journalistic sort of examination of Jamaican society, specifically the neighbourhood of Trench Town, but has a very fascinating and unconventional structure, that feels very in keeping with some of Villeneuve’s later films.

The structural conceit of the film is that it’s being presented by the protagonist, the journalist, as his own physical play with his recorded footage. He rewinds and fast forwards (hence the title, REW, rewind, FFWD, fast-forward) without much mind to conventional linear structure, narrating as he goes to keep it somewhat cohesive and logical.

The travel narrative itself is interesting enough, if not particularly original. The journalist is pleasantly surprised by the nature of Trench Town’s citizens, and learns more about their lifestyles and philosophy. It’s the structure and intriguing use of time that is most memorable about the film, however, at least to me personally. I don’t feel like the exploration of Jamaican society, and the interesting structure of the short, ever synthesised together; they didn’t feel particularly cohesive to me, just two separate ideas.

Still, an enjoyable short, and certainly not a large time commitment. I give it two and a half black boxes, and a broken down car.


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