New Gus Van Sant short – “First Kiss”

I’ve so far been enjoying the different flicks, both long form and shorts here at the NW Film and Video Festival. It’s been a great mix of documentaries and offbeat fair. Last night was a particularly good night. Featuring a documentary, two shorts and a wonderful fish out of water comedy.

But the real reason is that Gus Van Sant showed a short feature he did, that was also part of larger movie. That movie, To Each His Own, took 33 directors and asked them to make a short film about why they love film. Van Sant’s short, First Kiss also debuted during Cannes.

Anyway, First Kiss is a simple movie. It’s about a teenage projectionist who puts on a film, becomes entranced by the blond beauty on screen and then proceeds to pull a Last Action Hero, albeit without his golden ticket. Once inside the movie he makes out with the blond beauty. Simple.

What’s so striking about the movie, however, is it’s juxtaposition against many of the other short films at the festival. Van Sant demonstrates that a good movie needs to have a good plot. Even in three minutes, First Kiss, manages to have a beginning, middle and end. It’s a simple story, but a story nonetheless.

Strange that the short is on YouTube, but I shouldn’t be surprised. This is without sound, but it doesn’t dampen the experience.

Background: According to this little story, Van Sant met the actor in the film, Paul Parson, at the legendary groupie Penny Trumball’s house, aka, “Pennie Lane.” Trumball, apparantly lives in the Portland area and Parson turned down a major role in Van Sant’s Paranoid Park for a bit part.

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