Thursday, March 21, 2013

MAD, Day VII: Five Feet and Rising (2000)

Five Feet and Rising is a short film directed by Peter Sollett, more recently unknown for the rather lackluster Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008). The film is a day in the life of Victor (Victor Rasuk, Lords of Dogtown), a twelve year-old living in New York City.
On a hot summer day, Victor meets Amanda (Judy Marte), a girl at a local pool, but she disappears and he spends the next day trying to find her again. His search for the girl is really an excuse for the audience to get a fly-on-the-wall perspective of his neighborhood, the lives of the kids that inhabit it, and how they interact with Victor and each other. Observation: most if them have really poor manners. 

In fact, the film has many of the same vibes to that of Kids, a 1995 film with a similar setting (although not nearly as traumatic).

When Victor finally finds Amanda, and he puts his suave moves on her, the improvisation is so organic and natural that I was beginning to have flashbacks to my adolescence, and how disgustingly sweaty I would get within a 5-mile radius of being near a girl. 

As simple and short as the film is, the feeling of realism and authenticity is undeniable. Incidentally, most of the actors (save the protagonist) were not actors, but merely locals presumably told to improvise and ignore the camera.

The film is not perfect by any means, but it won the Short Filmmaking Award at the 2000 Sundance Festival, despite being a student film. It is also only 28 minutes long, so it's absolutely worth taking the time to check it out. Director Sollett actually went on to make a sequel of sorts as a feature film, but it failed to make as many waves as its predecessor.

Watch the short below: