by Jordan Corson
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Kisses attempts to use shocking images to depict something about the nature and the ways of relationships and love. And while the film was successful in eliciting appropriate reactions from me through these shocking images, there is otherwise no point to the shots, to the situation, to these two people lying in this specific bedroom and performing the violent actions they perform. The film includes only a couple of minutes of footage, mostly of a man kissing an underwear-clad woman. When the man finally takes off his clothes and prepares for sex it is revealed that he stabbed the woman in the throat. Here the graphic images are detailed including the man playing with the knife in the woman’s throat. The final seconds include him whispering that he loves her, taking out the knife, only to have her raise the knife, preparing to stab the man.
Images are what define short films, but the images in this film provide nothing new in the way of cinematic technique or in the way of narrative technique. If we are to enter the world of this film, even if it’s a short film, these images must be connected to characters, concepts, themes, emotions, some purpose for bringing us into this film for the few minutes we are there. Unfortunately there’s nothing of that sort here. It’s bland shots of kissing that I spent saying, “I know there’s something off here, just get to the buildup.” All the while I lacked any form of suspense. It was obvious from the start that the man had either killed his partner or she was already dead, or something boring and overused in love stories.
Rather than watch one second of this short trying to say something through ridiculous images, I’d much rather go back to Un Chien Andelou and watch shocking images as depicted by people that know how to use their camera and know how to use editing to build. Or to see a dysfunctional relationship I could even watch the music video for Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane,” which draws the viewer much closer to the two characters and shocks us much more than Kisses ever could. Furthermore, I would rather see someone who knows how to use images that surround a feeling or a character, something larger than these vacant shots of a couple that kill each other. Kisses is best left unwatched.
Jordan Corson is a film critic living in Chicago.
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