I recently was able to watch two shorts that I found interesting. Both have been shortlisted for the 95th Academy® Awards.
The first one is Cyrus Neshvad’s heartbreaking “The Red Suitcase.”
Director Cyrus Neshvad’s “The Red Suitcase” is a thought-provoking, heartbreaking story of a 16-year-old Iranian girl who is visibly terrified after picking up her red suitcase at the airport. She is seen to be lost in thought and taking her time to leave the departure lounge. What awaits her on the other side of the automatic doors is even more daunting than we thought. “The Red Suitcase” is shortlisted for the 95th Academy® Awards, after qualifying by winning the Oscar®-qualifying award at the Tirana International Film Festival.
Luxembourg Airport. Late in the evening. A veiled 16-year-old Iranian girl is frightened to take her red suitcase on the automatic carpet. She keeps pushing back the moment to go through the arrival gate and seems more and more terrified.
NAWELLE EWAD APPEARS in “The Red Suitcase.”
The reason for the young teen’s hesitancy is because she has been sold off as a young bride to an older man by her father. She doesn’t want this fate, and works hard when she disembarks the plane to hide from this arranged marriage, as she can hear the man on the phone calling her dad. He threatens the teen’s father, saying that he has paid more than enough money to the father and the family.
She is, however, successful in eluding the man, but it takes drastic actions on her part—but all in an effort to escape what she sees as an merciless future. This film reveals a great look at child brides and sex trafficking. You can’t help but cheer for the young girl, as she eventually has to let go of her red suitcase, which has all her worldly belongings. But she’d rather start fresh with nothing, then to be held what she feels as hostage by the older man.
Cyrus Neshvad is a Luxembourg director of Iranian origin. He has directed several short films, including “The Orchid,” “Antoine,” “Son” and “Portraitist,” which have all been produced by Cynefilms. Collectively these films have officially been selected in over 300 festivals, over 30 of them Oscar-qualifying. “Portraitist” qualified for the Oscars in 2020 and won 55 awards, including the Letzebuerger Filmpraïs 2021 in Luxembourg. Currently, Cyrus Neshvad is developing his first feature film “Le Refuge / The Shelter” supported by the Film Fund Luxembourg.
Writer Guillaume Levil has written and directed several films, including “The Trouser Issue,” which was broadcasted on TV, he has also directed “Arthur Rambo” and wrote “Portraitist,” which was also the winner of The Lëtzebuerger Filmprais.
The beautiful composition which sets the sombre tone of the film was created by Kyan Bayani who was the composer of two-time Oscar-nominated “Collective,” directed by Alexander Nanau and “Bad Banks,” directed by Christian Schwochow and Christian Zunert on Netflix.
Take a look at a trailer with the director discussing the culture for Iranian females, courtesy of FOX 7 Austin: Film director talks about ‘The Red Suitcase’ | FOX 7 Austin – YouTube.
The second one is Eirik Tveiten’s “Night Ride.”
Director Eirik Tveiten’s “Night Ride” shares the story of Ebba who is waiting for the tram, an unexpected turn of events transforms the ride home into something uncomfortable and potentially violent.
A cold night in December. Ebba waits for the tram to go home after a party, but the ride takes an unexpected turn.
Ebba decides that it’s too cold to wait on the tram and finds a way to open the doors. In an effort to get some heat, she accidentally starts the tram and is forced to drive it as it goes forward—with seemingly no end in sight.
She picks up passengers along the way, including a trans woman named Ariel, who is being constantly harassed and propositioned by two male passengers. Ebba tries not to get involved, but she eventually stands up to the bullies, and to their chagrin, they see the power of two people from a marginalized community, because they had underestimated her bravery.
EBBA, PLAYED BY Sigrid Kandal Husjord, is parts petrified and elated that she is in command of the tram. She knows folks view her short stature as a disability, but she proves them wrong.
In the end, she and the ridiculed passenger bail off the tram and leave the other unruly passengers up to their own devices.
Director and writer Eirik Tveiten wrote and directed his first acclaimed short “Friendly People” in 2010. He has written and directed 14 short films. His work includes different genres and stretches from high realism to stylized comedy. “Night Ride” was awarded the audience award at The Norwegian Short Film Festival and has since won five awards at festivals around the world.
Eirik shared: “This is wonderful news! I’m delighted that our film and our message received this recognition! Big shoutout to my amazing producers Heidi and Gaute, and the whole crew for their remarkable work.”
This spectacular short is produced by Gaute Lid Larssen and Heidi Arnesen. Larssen has worked professionally in film production for 25 years with a background from NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) as a radio presenter and casting director. He is currently managing director and chairman at Cylinder Productions AS. Arnesen graduated with a bachelor’s in fine arts from CCA, and she currently works for Cylinder Production AS as a producer.
The beautiful cinematography is expertly created by Vegard Landsverk.
Take a look at the trailer: https://vimeo.com/462547989/0b0c253286.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or email: [email protected].