Short of the Week

Noah

In a story that plays out entirely on a teenager’s computer screen, Noah follows its eponymous protagonist as his relationship takes a rapid turn for the worse in this fascinating study of behavior (and romance) in the internet age. NSFW

Thanks to the deep pockets of YouTube, a large selection of short films from the Toronto International Film Festival are now online for the next couple of weeks. The shorts program at TIFF is not of the same reputation as the festival itself due to the fact that it is restricted only to Canadian shorts, but, considering the quality of artist assistance outfits like the NFB, and the NSI, Canada has nurtured one of the world’s most vibrant national short films scenes, so over  3 hours of the best the country has to offer is good news.

We’re undecided as of yet whether to review the whole program, but there is a standout piece that has already garnered much attention. Noah, by two first-time filmmakers out of Ryerson College, is powerful commentary of contemporary technology and its role in relationships.

Depicted entirely through a computer screen, Noah casually multitasks while talking to his girlfriend, Amy. High Schoolers prepping for parting when they move to different cities the next year, Noah confuses Amy’s attempts at serious discussion with a desire to break up, thus sending him through a digital spiral of grief and revenge.

I’m sure it is the gimmick of the computer screen which is fueling a lot of the press attention for the short—it  has been featured now in Gawker, and by several digital newspapers—yet, while executed very well, it is not a wholly novel approach. The Digital Story of Nativity comes to mind, and that was in itself influenced by the famous Google search commercial Parisian Love. More recently we saw fun travels in branded content from Intel and Smith and Foulkes with The Chase.

What is stupendous about Noah is the way that it tells its timeless story of suspicion and heartache in a way that is only possible through through the filter of its technological approach. Betrayal takes the form of logging in to your loved ones Facebook. Getting over things means seeking out a stranger…on Chatroulette. It’s familiar, but different, and a recogntion that our interactions follow the same patterns even as the are mediated differently. But there is the specter that those interactions are qualitatively inferior, the way Noah is doing 4 things at once when Skyping with Amy,  or the way that his Chatroulette connection is dumped so easily, so unceremoniously.

~
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://reddysteadygo.tumblr.com/ Sindhu R.

    I am impressed! I can’t imagine the grueling and tedious work required to make this short. It is a little gimmicky and though the story isn’t novel, it is deliciously sincere in the way that only true teenagers can be.

  • http://www.andrewsallen.com Andrew S Allen

    These modern tales told via screens are proving to be more than just a novel technique—they’re actually interesting! Great story, great acting, never dull.

  • http://www.andrewsallen.com Andrew S Allen

    I like how you called out the nudity as strictly “male nudity”. You might call it “unsightly male nudity”.

  • armd

    I was really, really drawn into the film, and completely invested in it. I think the ending however, was way too on the nose to really resonate with me and definitely let me down a bit.

  • karamelkinema

    This is a very interesting short! I think what set these apart from the other form in similar approach is the camera move following Noah’s eye tracking as he interact with the screen. It just allow the viewer to have more insight into Noah characteristic and behavior :)

  • Fahad

    I love it !!
    great work ..

  • Amanda Brown

    Far too much grotesque nudity! Argh, once was bad enough, but its like Tyler Durden had final cut. Spoiled what was otherwise a great piece of storytelling. You actually made something interesting from Facebook

  • Co

    This is a really sad film about modern life and what civilization is rapidly turning into: over-stimulated, constantly multitasking, brain-dead, spiritually vacuous lives, paradoxically over-socialized and lonely at the same time, and filled with pornography to the point that the most “grotesque nudity” elicits nothing but eye rolling. It’s not surprising that no one in school has the attention span to read books anymore. And despite our obsession with “social media” everyone is so lonely and the percentage of the population on depression meds keeps increasing.

    Great work on the film, though. I was moved and disturbed, especially when the one meaningful conversation he had was abruptly replaced by a big fat guy about to stick a dildo up his ass. Let’s be honest, that’s the world we live in.

  • Anonymous

    No longer working…

  • ocube

    Seems its been removed from the public…

  • melown

    thanks this video I found new music for my playlist

  • Anonymous

    Found a working link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3U9-2HKyZU

    (From the Short Cuts Canada Festival 2013 page, so legal from what I can gather).

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

    Awesome. Updated our player link!

  • Caleb Slain

    It’s an honest reflection of the content (“chatroulette” in this case). That is honestly what it’s like, and people who use chatroulette (kids, teens, etc.) glaze over that “unsightly behavior” just as impersonally as passing over a bad peach in the grocery store. The film is a reflection of the times and content, and it shows them honestly.

    I personally find it in poor taste to critique something for it’s honesty.

  • Caleb Slain

    Interesting that the director pulled a copyright claim… It seems to be rather unavailable across the web.

  • Scumbag Steve

    To assholes Patrick & Walter: Share your shitty movie with public on youtube or return the award you got.

  • Trevor Hadick
  • SFH

    It seems I am unable to watch this short, is there somewhere else online I can find it?