Felix Cat

Felix

The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Menu Icon

Felix

Issue 1766
The student newspaper of Imperial College London


Keep the Cat Free


New MUBI Short Films: Citadel & Stump the Guesser

Film editor Oliver Weir takes a look at two new films streaming on MUBI now. The first: a delightfully wild new film by Guy Maddin; and the second: a new short by John Smith that looks at life at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Film

in Issue 1766

Stump the Guesser

★ ★ ★
Where
MUBI
When
Streaming Now
Cost
Student MUBI Subscription Fee
Stumptheguesser1 Photo: MUBI. Source: 43.mostra.org

Stump the Guesser is the latest creation from Guy Maddin—director of the fantastic My Winnipeg—as well as Galen and Evan Johnson. This 20 minute short tells the bamboozling tale of a man (known only as 'The Guesser') who answers any and all questions from the general public at the local carnival. One day he is asked a question to which he does not know the answer and his life is thrown into chaos and doubt—by which I mean he falls in love with his sister and then sets about trying to disprove the theory of heredity so that he can legally marry her.

On first viewing it was the look of the film that was the real draw. Despite a large majority of the film being shot using a green screen (due to a tight budget) this short has a fantastic, old Soviet cinema look to it. As the plot becomes more dizzyingly down-the-rabbit-hole the aspect of the film shifts accordingly. However, by carefully littering flashes of modernity throughout, Stump the Guesser pays homage to the silent era without ever feeling like a pastiche.

On second viewing it was the wild storyline that kept me watching. Stump the Guesser has all the layers one could wish for—taking on the form of a Freudian fever dream—but, more importantly, it is tremendously funny, if not a bit tragic.

Stump the Guesser is streaming on MUBI now.

(Always remember to check for the fifth fish.)

Citadel

★ ★ ★
Where
MUBI
When
Streaming Now
Cost
Student MUBI Subscription Fee
Citadel1 530x298 Photo: LUX, MUBI

I had no real expectations going into John Smith's latest short Citadel, having only seen one other of his films (The Black Tower). What we get in Citadel is footage of London's skyline alongside audio clips from Boris Johnson's televised coronavirus briefings. The audio is often clipped and repeated to really hit home whatever feeling is aroused within us while watching. For those feeling a sense of dread or anxiety, the repetition of Johnson's words will seem ominous and fateful—especially given that the speeches from which this film draws were given some time ago, and we know where we ended up. For those who bring to the film a deep, earned frustration with the way things are right now, the editing of Citadel will compound that anger and exasperation. Whatever feelings you bring to this film, its unfailing weapon will be retrospect.

As we switch from day to night, from lights on in living rooms to the complete darkness of a sleeping capital, from the beating sun to the dead of winter, the same skyline remains, and the same people go about their routines. We feel—perhaps some of us for the first time in a while—a sense of time, and a place to look back on the events of the last year, even if our diaries remained quite empty. I thought this was an impressive short, and found within that enduring shot an opportunity to take a breath and reflect for fifteen minutes. God knows we all need a bit of that.

Citadel is streaming on MUBI now.

Also in this issue...

Top Stories

Readership