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Vimeo Short Film of the Week: ‘Lightningface’

Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Brian Petsos’ maniacally silly “origin” story Lightningface.

The Plot: After Basil Stitt is struck by lightning, well, let’s just say that shit gets weird. Really weird.

The Film: 

Don’t bother searching for a more in-depth plot synopsis than that. There really isn’t much more to Lightningface. But then, plot isn’t really what Lightningface is about. Rather, the film’s writer/director Brian Petsos uses the simplistic setup of a normal man suffering through an extraordinary event to explore themes of vanity, isolation, psychosis and purpose in the face of a seemingly indifferent universe. And yes, somewhere in the mix Lightningface becomes an origin story of sorts.

Just FYI – that “origin story” angle is just as irrelevant as a plot to Petsos’ film. In the context of Lightningface‘s on-screen action, it feels a bit like an afterthought … even if it is a deliciously clever one. As such, Lightningface focuses its narrative less on the outcome of that story than on the journey. That journey unfolds over a single week, with a single character and is restricted to a single location – which Cinematographer Daniel Katz lenses with uncommon warmth and awe-inspiring symmetry.

As far as the character goes, he’s played by the great Oscar Isaac, who plays the role with a manically melancholic sense of mirth. The less we say about that performance the better. You simply cannot understand its brilliance unless you see it for yourself. Just know that nothing Isaac has done in the past (not even his collaboration with Petsos in prior Short of the Week pick Ticky Tacky) can prepare you for how far he takes things in Lightningface. Petsos and Co. fully embrace the weirdness. They capture every delightfully disturbing moment with Kubrickean zeal and present it with a pathological passion. Make no mistake, pressing play and letting that weirdness wash over you might be the best decision you make all day.

Meet The Crew:

Written Directed by: Brian Petsos  Starring: Oscar Isaac  Cinematography by: Daniel Katz  Edited by: Brian Graynor  Music by: Justin Hori 

We hope you enjoy Lightningface! We’re willing to bet that Brian Petsos and Oscar Isaac had more than a few viewers scratching their heads as this film made rounds on the 2016/2017 festival circuit. We’re also pretty sure that, even if those viewers had no idea what they were watching, they probably couldn’t look away either, and they most certainly had themselves a good laugh or two. Either way, we’re really hoping that Petsos and Isaac continue to collaborate on their little short form experiments; and we cannot wait to see what they come up with next. Until then, you can revisit their prior short, Ticky Tacky, over on the A Sabateur Vimeo page. Or you can read our full write-up of the film right here.

While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – team Vimeo has curated for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device … SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting, and you may just stumble across your new favorite filmmaker.

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Patrick Phillips is a Staff Writer for CutPrintFilm, looper.com and geekinsider.com. He reads a lot, drinks too much coffee, buys too many records and loves writing about movies. Find him on Twitter at @savagedetectiv. Follow his movie tastes right here - https://www.taste.io/users/patphiltaste/ratings.