The Short List #11: "Munchauser" (2013, dir. Ari Aster)

The Short List #11: “Munchausen”

A gorgeous short about a mother’s anxieties of being apart from her child.
The Short List #1: "Sweet Things" (2018, dir. Henry K. Norvalls)

The Short List is our running list of notable short features available online. Every week, we share one short film which we think deserves to be watched by many. The short films included in our list can come from any country but has to be publicly available online. 

Click here to see the full list of short films—you can also submit your own.

Ari Aster’s sophomore feature comes out in local theaters today. It’s his follow-up to “Hereditary”, an effective family drama that succinctly surmises the fear of familial dysfunction.

His new film, “Midsommar“, appears to be a sharp turn, taking from the confines of a dinner table to a long boodle feast among commune members. If we took critics’ word for it, we’re up to experience one of the most bizarre and most terrifying experiences in cinema.

We’re excited to see it. You’re excited to see it.

But if you needed another reason to get excited, watch “Munchausen”, a sixteen-minute short film that follows a mother, played by Bonnie Bedelia (from “Die Hard”), who goes to extreme lengths to keep herself closer to her son, who’s due to move out for college.

The Short List #11: "Munchauser" (2013, dir. Ari Aster)

At the risk of spoiling the entire story, I think Aster’s decision with regards to the short film’s title is brilliant. Those familiar with Munchausen syndrome by proxy (or MSBP) will have a vague idea of where this story heads, and that’s fine, because the short, really, nails this insufferable feeling of mothers being apart from their children.

What’s more, Aster chose a pretty aesthetic for it: the Pixar movie. Shot in such a way that feels suffocatingly cinematic, and by extension, farcical and artificial.

The idyllic suburbia, the peppy interiors (that feels ripped right off of the “Toy Story” movies), and the put-on smiles that the characters wear even at the harshest of times hit a major chord, at least to this writer.

The Short List #11: "Munchauser" (2013, dir. Ari Aster)

Aster has other shorts I can champion. From the absurdly manic “Beau” to the absolutely deranged “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons“, but “Munchausen” feels fundamentally in the voice of Aster, even if that has yet to fully unravel to us with just two feature films to reference.

That being said, I’m very happy this short exists online for all to experience.

Watch the full short film “Munchausen” below:

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