Short of the Week

Tumult

Nominated for a 2013 BAFTA, a tribe of Norse warriors traipse across a barren land after battle. Their chief, near death, is about to hand over power to his son when an army of a completely different kind descends upon them.

While I’m resolutely on the side of the internet, I do envy festival-programmers a smidge from time to time. They get to play tiny dictators. I wish I could herd viewers into a dark pen and unilaterally decide how the next 90 minutes of their lives will progress. No need to preface, explain or justify editorial selections, the audience would place their trust in me and relinquish control. I would take away their agency as viewers, but, in the end, if I show enough work like Johnny Barrington’s remarkable Scottish short, they would rapturously praise me.

Instead I program entertainment for the the internet, where 90 minutes of uninterrupted attention might as well be 90 unicorns and 70% of views end before 30 seconds are up. It’s a great world, full of choice and gratications, both easy and sophisticated, but it also means that you might reasonably expect me to explain why you should click play in the first place, and why you should sit at your laptop for 14 minutes and not press pause to check your email, dash off a tweet or hit your favorite news site.

And I really don’t want to have to explain this short! Barrington shows such an easy mastery over audience expectation that you should come in as open and fresh as you can possibly muster. Is it gruesome? funny? smart? tense? All of the above!? I don’t want to tell you!

Instead I’ll cheat and validate the film absent of analysis, relying on the praise of others. The film premiered last year at Sundance to great applause. Anecdotally I can tell you that it was one of the shorts that I heard receive the most chatter from festival-goers and filmmakers while I was in Park City. Funded by Creative Scotland and Channel 4, the film has had a good run on TV in the UK and Barrington’s assured direction has been honed in prestigious programs such as the Director’s Lab formerly run by the UK Film Council (R.I.P), and the Berlinale Talent Campus. Also in big news this morning, the announcement went out that the film is nominated for a 2013 BAFTA award for best British short.

An impressive tally no doubt, and yet you likely have never heard of  T U M U L T. But that’s a good thing! Short film is great sometimes because it lacks hype. It doesn’t have the the teaser and 4 different trailers that exhaust you and your expectations before the film even debuts. So let yourself be caught surprised, like you would have been if you’d shown up in a dark theater with no prior knowledge of what to expect, invigorated by the faint hope that absent expectation and prejudice, you might be shown your new favorite film.

~
Co-Founder of Short of the Week, Sondhi lives in Brooklyn working as a Curator for Vimeo. Follow his musings on online video, direct distribution and branded content: @jasondhi.
  • http://twitter.com/kung_fuelvis kung_fuelvis

    Great review Jason and good job in bypassing any possible spoilers for the wonderful TUMULT – ps Where do I get my 90 unicorns?

  • http://www.lucky9studios.com/ Ivan Kander

    Excellent film that delightfully messes with expectations.

  • max

    it’s password protected at the moment

  • http://twitter.com/shortsnotpants ShrtsThatAreNotPants

    We showed this at Shorts That Are Not Pants a while back and it killed. ;)

  • http://www.lucky9studios.com/ Ivan Kander

    Doh!

  • http://www.lucky9studios.com/ Ivan Kander

    Doh!

  • Thor

    Loved this short film!

  • no name

    what’s the password!?

  • no name

    what’s the password!?

  • Druchulain

    I typed tumult and it worked!

  • no name

    i tried it and worked,thanks

  • no name

    absurd timeline complex,nice work!

  • CuriousOrange

    does anyone know the name of the song playing over the end credits? Would love to find it! Thanks

  • CuriousOrange

    does anyone know the name of the song playing over the end credits? Would love to find it! Thanks

  • http://profiles.google.com/alanmdouglas Alan Douglas

    Gorram password protected page! Really liked the look of thos one!

  • Lorenzo Benitez

    It’s like a darker version of ‘Les Visiteurs’! Very funny!

  • Jasmine Zimmermann

    I took part in this short film as one of the tourist on the bus. I was one of the lucky locals to be chosen as an extra. I have been trying to get hold of the full version but i need a password to watch it. Can you please help me as i am itching to finaly watch it. What great fun it was, working with amatuers and professionals. Thanks Jasmine Zimmermann

  • http://twitter.com/kung_fuelvis kung_fuelvis

    Tumult is now live on Vimeo so we can all bathe in its glory once again

  • http://twitter.com/kung_fuelvis kung_fuelvis

    You can see it here – Jasmine, not password protected anymore.

  • J. Quint

    Dude, just type “tumult” when password is requested. I tried that and it actually worked pretty fine.