Summer Shorts: Paper or Plastic

06-Aug-10 11:00 AM by
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Most of Showbits' live-action summer shorts are either dark or funny. Few try to be either touching or poignant. Paper or Plastic makes that effort, but rather than run long and actually have a moral, it goes for an easy ending:

I was struck by this film at first, as it puts on the surface the "different" that we all feel inside. Being pretty is hard. Being in college is hard. Hell, being alive is hard. Many of us suffer in silence, but this story's protagonist can't hide what makes her different. Whether she's doing it as a courtesy to her friends (if any), or to protect herself, the concept of living life with a bag on one's head is both funny and sad.

The first few scenes made me wonder how the actress would convey emotion. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, LeVar Burton couldn't use his expressive eyes yet still managed the full range of sentiments. When Paper or Plastic's protagonist started magically changing bags when a real-life scenario would've afforded her no such opportunity, I felt a bit cheated.

The ending was also a letdown. Perhaps it would've been too cliché for the boy to have wooed her out from under her shell, revealing her to be the beautiful young woman she is. And though true love persists "in good times and in bad", I believe it should not simply prompt equilibrium within the couple, but also inspire each person to be his or her best. Is that the metaphor the title is suggesting?

I did enjoy the short's soundtrack — but the credits include none for the music, leaving me unsure where to find more of it.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this film, and it's supposed to be just a cute love story. What do you think?

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