Tag Archives: son

SFW Review: Last Shot and Whale Heart

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Last Shot by Aemilia Widodo

Last Shot is a cute short film about a camera with a broken lens that, once animated, convinces his owner to appreciate the beauty in imperfection. 

Reasonably, when the owner first sees the damaged lens, throws the camera away. But instead of giving up hope, the camera responds by meticulously arranging an exquisite art piece, using only its newly altered images.

This is all to prove a moral point: that happiness can only exist after we have achieved a sense of optimism.

Whale Heart by The Animation Workshop

Whale Heart, follows the life of a whaler, named Silas. The film highlights the struggle of Silas’s life, in an isolated village, with his young family. We see that Silas’s inner turmoil and his environment, are taking a dark toll on him. His work has made him a cold and emotionally distant man; he has mastered the art of extracting his emotions (taking out his heart and abandoning it at home, with his family).

In the film, we see Silas’s young son primed to follow him. From the moment Silas was born, he was groomed for the whaling lifestyle. Which is why, when given a conscious choice to initiate his son into the life, Silas wisely decides against it; naturally wanting to give his boy a chance at something better.

Ultimately, when Silas does not remove his heart and dies protecting his son, it marks the beginning of the end for this story. This moment is symbolic of the fact that we cannot always hide our raw emotions for/from our loved ones. Having his son with him, is a key moment in Silas’s life, one that he cannot detach from. And with this, I feel like Silas is finally able to create a choice for himself-one he could not readily make in the past. What makes the story all the more interesting, is how, even with his devoted father’s ultimate sacrifice, the son becomes a whaler for the village, anyway.

While their reasons for pursuing this harsh lifestyle are different (with the son sorely wanting vengeance for his slain father and the father only wanting to provide for his family), it is fascinating to see how easy it was from both of them to become the thing they were fighting so hard against. The father and son never talked about each other’s earnest hopes and wishes for the future, so it seems inevitable that this would be the outcome.

PBS Film School Shorts: Glory Days

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This film really succeeded in stressing me out.

My issue was with the sheer amount of irresponsibility on the father’s part. He leaves his young children standing in the middle of a crowded room of intoxicated people so that he can flirt. He lets his friend carry him down a path he knows he should not be going down. As a result, his daughter drinks alcohol, and his son engages in a fight set up by the same friend.

The film underlines the fundamental need to let go of our former selves and embrace our current obligations, especially as parents.

PBS Film School Shorts: Lambing Season and A World for Raul

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Lambing Season

I honestly was not expecting to like this film as much as I did.

Essentially, an American woman takes her significant other to meet her estranged father, whom she has not seen since her childhood. All she has is an old photograph, her ambition, and the hope that her father still remembers her. She comes across a man she thinks is her father, only to learn that her family’s secrets are more profound than she first thought.

A World for Raul * Content Warning *

While this film has a trigger warning, I grew to appreciate the story being told. It’s a practical story, a disturbing testament to life for some people, and it all boils down to what we must do to survive in a cruel world.

What stood out to me in this film was the power shifts occurring between the characters. The father brings his son along for a business trip because he needs him to entertain his boss’s son. The boss’s son assumes that he has power and authority over the boy because of his father’s position. Despite the boy’s predicament, he manages to do something I was not expecting. He keeps his trauma (and the boss’s son’s secret) to himself and instead uses it as collateral and further incentive for any current and future business deals. He had every opportunity to crumble, as the situation called for losing his pride and dignity, but he didn’t let it.

The film is very much fictional, but I understand that it is also based on real life. I do not condone business deals like this, especially ones that involve children in this way. I know it is doubtful that the employee knows about the boss’s son’s nefarious activities, but it also makes me wonder how long this has been going on? Also, what else has this boy endured until this point, considering his reticent demeanor?

Other Films to Watch:


This film is about a man who takes extreme steps to prepare for fatherhood after his girlfriend gets pregnant.

PBS Short Film Festival 2020/2021 Review: Kapaemahu and We Gon’ Be Alright

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This film provides the foundation story of how the four boulders of Waikiki Beach in Hawaii came to be. These boulders, much like Mauna Kea from Standing Above the Clouds, have a rich history in the lives of the Hawaiian people.

Unfortunately, unlike Mauna Kea, the story of the four boulders of Waikiki Beach was lost to the current generation. This was primarily due to the rise of infrastructure on the island, to the point that the boulders became more land features than the actual landmarks the Hawaiian people proclaim it to be.

We Gon’ Be Alright (PBS Short Film Festival 2020)

We will be alright, as in, a community affected by the demolition of their beloved community center will continue to adapt and overcome.

Much like Kapaemahu and Standing Above the Clouds, We Gon’ Be Alright is another film that tackles the heavy topic of culturalism in America. The need for rapid urban and housing development is having a negative influence on inner-city identity, whether it is a group of boulders, a mountain, or a lowly priced building, the key theme in this film is societal resiliency.

Additional PBS films to check out:

The Love Bugs

The Love Bugs is a cute film about an aging couple who reminisces about how they fell in love through their love of bugs. This film addresses diverse topics, including aging, academics, and how to pursue your passions to the fullest. It is very much a film about finding out what (and who) you love and going after it.

Grab My Hand

Grab My Hand is such a heartwarming short film about a brother-to-brother relationship that spanned a lifetime. The story of their brotherhood is recounted by the son of one of the brothers, told as he saw them through his young eyes. The film is full of such love and admiration, and it is worth the watch.