The film takes place in an abstract world of war where four displaced soldiers pass the time by torturing their only prisoner. The Prisoner must use his wits to survive. An absurdist fable in the tradition of Beckett and Ionesco.
I am always pleased when filmmakers are able to stick to nuts-and-bolts filmmaking. For all it's neatness, precision, and simplicity, it offers startling complexity. In this entire five minute short film, there must only be about fifty camera setups. Each one is a carefully-sculpted building block, and many of them are memorable, powerful, beautiful. The last triggerstreet.com short I saw was "Pandora's Box", three minutes long, with nearer to two hundred camera setups in it. They are already faded from my memory. Now, I won't praise Brian Holcomb for being brave and daring. This is real filmmaking. He started the thinking process where it should start: Here, I have a camera, and actor, the ability to edit to shots together, and location to stage it all. What is the best way to tell a story? Most filmmakers would start at, I just saw "Pulp Fiction" yesterday, and Tarantino had and camera and I have a camera -- how do I get everything else that he had? In other words, here is a filmmaker who paid attention in film class! The cinematography is knockout. I don't think I will ever forget the image of the prisoner teathered to a tree and struggling to escape when the soldiers come for him. That's pure cinema. Not perfect, but pure.
I DIG THIS DITCH!
More like a moving painting than some ordinary movie, THE DITCH is at once both completely simple and mysterious and baffling. The "tale" about how a Chaplinesque Prisoner outwits his captors after receiving the mystical aid of a mysterious ditch is completely understandable. SOme of the other reviews have complained about not following it, but I must say, my 5 year old niece laughed and got it in one sitting. There is another mysterious level to this film, however, and that lies in it's refusal to explain anything. This is a very bold thing to do, especially in today;s climate where people cannot handle the fact that something merely IS. Kudos go of course to the very talented director, but also to the cast, each of whom create solid characters witout dialogue. The actor who played the Prisoner was especially good, I felt so happy for him as he joyfully ran off in the last shot.
This was a cool ass movie. And I mean that in the hipster sense. It's played out in these flat panel like shots featuring chracters on some nonsense mission. No sound puts the images front and center and man, what cool images. Locked down framings that feel like Mathhew Brady photogrpahs. If you want plot, read a book or watch tv. If you want FILM, watch THE DITCH.
REALLY COOL FLICK!
I really enjoyed this weird little pic. Totally startling and original from first frame to last and edited really really sharply. I loved the way it just starts in the middle of a shot, as though we came in late and we spend the next five minutes trying to catch up. Both surreal and perfectly clear in telling it's simple tale. A Deceptively simple tale I should say, as this one doesn't give up all it's secrets. This is the work of a director with a real vision.
I love it .its real surreal and without an ellaborate setup.Its so simple but still complex in the relationship between the characters. Its great thats its all balck and white and its like Monty Python but much more refined.I wonder why you didnt put any sound on it ,but i guess its much better without it.
I LOVED THIS FILM!
How many films have you seen which challenge the way you look at cinema? This odd silent short film does that very thing as well as telling a humorous short fable. Without resorting to banal narrative explanations as to some future war or some kind of nerve gas that forces the soldiers to wear odd white masks, the film expects you to actually WATCH it, almost like some found footage from a war in the past and to try and orient yourself to who these people are, where they are, On the surface it seems simple, 4 soldiers dragging along their unfortunate and unmasked prisoner through strange landscapes of ruin and destruction. What caught my attention was the strange fact that the soldiers seemed to be aware of the prescence of the camera recording their actions and in one instance there is an odd pan to the ground which shows the shadow of someone else. Is there a fifth soldier? Overall, an excellent piece of filmmaking with lots of charm and mastery of visual design. Everything from the wardrobe to the settings seemed just right, the perfect evocation of a mysterious universe.
As weird as this silent little film was I liked it. While the images were inspired by WWII newsreel, they are more reminiscent of early 20 and 30s silent films. It is this fact alone why I liked it. The running prisoner could have been Buster Keaton. Obviously there were some technical flaws and it was dificult at times to see what was happening in the wide shots. While only 5 minutes long the story drug out too long. Emphasis should have been played on the slapstick more. Not bad, though. Go for it guys.
WONDERFULLY MYSTERIOUS SHORT FILM
THE DITCH reminds me very much of the classic short films by Roman Polanski such as MAMMALS and TWO MEN AND A WARDROBE. Like Beckett and Ionesco, it is at once surreal, mysterious, and absurd. Wonderful use of graphic framing and cutting on motion, the early scenes are like a series of comic strip panels. Great choice of locations and wardrobe, director is a supreme visualist. Only gripe would be that it might be better with some sort of score, perhaps a tinkling piano?
PRODUCTION NOTES: Film was designed primarilly as an experiment in visual storytelling utilizing the basic techniques of motion pictures circa 1915, like the early films of Edwin Porter/ Louis Feuillade. When cinema was in the middle ground between the recording medium devised by the Lumieres and the Dickensian narrative mode of Griffith. I wanted to to convey a simple, yet somewhat mysterious narrative returning the camera to the role of recording machinery. A series of observed moments that added together to some kind of narrative. The film is NOT SCI-FI I had little choice in the TRIGGERSTREET genres. The look was chosen in order to abstract images and performances as much as possible to achieve a kind of timeless blankness. The decision was made to leave it completely dead silent since this put the focus on the images and left the whole piece much more mysterious, a little bit like the notorious Alien Autospy footage.The undercranked images were inspired by newsreel footage from WWI.