Brazilian director CISMA (a.k.a. Denis Kamioka) has released what is, in my opinion, and with no fear of over-statement, a masterpiece. “Handmade” is a brilliant example of the power that short film wields; that the challenges of telling a lifetime of emotions in a few short minutes force a condensation that can strike right to your core. Long form films can be just as enthralling, but in a different way. Long movies are 12-course meals and Ayn Rand and limestone cliffs: lengthy and enjoyable and filled with discovery that comes from slow layers of information piling up and informing what comes after it. Short films are Pop Rocks and haiku and lightning: magnificent bursts of everything almost all at once.
“Handmade” is a wonder because of the way it breathes – heavy, you can feel years inside it. The story is told in full-sensory mode, both tangible and imaginary, in flashback and in realtime. Watch “Handmade” here.
To me “Handmade” is a perfect cinematic balancing act. It shows and tells just as much as it needs to. Shorts need to be done with a certain touch. In a brief amount of time the experience needs to be distilled down, stories told not through dialogue and plot twists but through nuance, colour, and universal truths. By visually bringing to life feelings so natural and intrinsic that there is no need for language or plot exposition. But the balance needs to be just right. Short films are delicate in a way: too much or too little and the whole house of cards comes to the floor. They fly or fail purely on the quality of their brevity.