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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

Hysterical Girl

Hyperbole notwithstanding, Kate Novack's made the best film of the year, the astonishingly brilliant, Hysterical Girl. It’s only 13 minutes long, so some people might say, but it’s a short? My answer is that in 13 minutes it has more fully realized ideas and vision, more inventiveness and creativity in it's editing and execution, and packs a bigger emotional and visceral punch, than anything I've seen this year and probably in the last 5-10 years. It’s true that feature length films, and for some reason really long 3 hour plus features seem to carry more weight, why? Unless it's the Godfather or Gone With The Wind, most films these days could use a lot more editing (Tarantino and Scorsese, I'm talking to you!) Woody Allen famously said any good story can be told on film in 90 minutes.

Our binge culture asks us to plow through series' that have hours upon hours of story and exposition. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of fantastic feature films and shows out there. Nomadland Succession comes to mind as a series that deserves the all the time it takes to tell it's story, the last episode of season 2 which is like a feature film is an amazing piece of filmmaking and storytelling.

This gets me back to Hysterical Girl. Even the best short films are criminally under-seen and undervalued. They show the Oscar nominated shorts as a group, but it's hard for them to stand on their own. If we haven't valued short films enough in the past, Novack's masterpiece that brilliantly confronts the denial of sexual abuse and the gaslighting through blending a real life account of a case by Sigmund Freud with recent clips of the same behavior, should put the importance of this art form back on the map, and maybe start a renaisssance in short-filmmaking.

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