short films

Shorts on our list: Before ‘Sicario’ and ‘Arrival’, Denis Villeneuve made this film in 1994

‘REW-FFWD’ is a nightmarish exploration of culture shock set in Jaimaica.

For fledgling filmmakers, short films serve as calling cards. For established filmmakers, shorts serve as a break between projects, or perhaps something to do as they seek funding for a planned future film. In 2015, director Sujoy Ghosh released Ahalya, his first film since Kahaani (2012).

Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve made only four films between 1998 and 2010, but he has since proceeded to work non-stop over the last few years. Villeneuve first came to mainstream notice in 2010 with Incendies, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2013, he made Prisoners and Enemy, both starring Jake Gyllenhaall. In 2015, he directed the drug smuggling thriller Sicario. The science fiction film Arrival, which was premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is being released in India on November 25. Villeneuve will also helm the prestigious sequel to the Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner.

Although Villenueve’s films are firmly embedded in genre, they have a strong edge of realism. Villenueve’s docu-drama style is firmly in evidence in REW-FFWD (1994), one of his early works produced by the National Film Board of Canada and referred to as a “pyscho-drama” by one of the characters in the film.

“You are the protagonist of a broken down road movie,” an unnamed voice, who identifies himself as a psychiatrist-mechanic, tells the photographer protagonist of REW-FFWD. A black box has “digitally recorded every move, every thought, every breath, everything” from the photographer’s trip to Kingston, Jamaica, on an assignment. On the front of the box are four buttons. “Let’s push play,” the psychiatrist tells photographer.

The rest of the film uses found footage format and is told from the main character’s point of view. Scenes are played out of order to create confusion for viewers as they follow the photographer’s journey into an alien word. What begins as culture shock slowly gives way to understanding.

The film was shot on location and features what appear to be real interviews with reggae musicians such as Massive Dread. There is also a brief interlude where a local academic explains the role of family in Jamaican society. The short film’s eerie, nightmarish quality makes for an uneasy viewing experience.


“I started alone with a camera,” Villeneuve told British pop culture website Den of Geek about his early career. “I made a few dozen small documentaries, and that was the birth of a way to approach reality with a camera. After that, my first films were really like sketches for me. They have some qualities, but they also have a lot of faults. I was not a good screenwriter at the beginning – I needed to learn more. I stopped for a few years, saying to myself, ‘I will go back to cinema when I’m able to better control my ideas.”

Villenueve went on to contribute Le Technétium to the anthology film Cosmos (1996), a showcase of Canadian filmmakers. Two years later, he made his feature film debut with August 32nd on Earth. Both films were Canada’s entry to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The cinema of Denis Villeneuve.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.


To learn more about life insurance plans available for your family, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.