Over the last few weeks I’ve been highlighting a number of shorts from the talented Blue-Tongue Films collective, including Nash Edgerton’s Spider and Bear. This is not without good reason—their short films are excellent. All of the films under the Blue-Tounge banner have the same modus operandi: no matter how ridiculous the premise, the content is grounded in reality. Each film has incredibly high production value, great stunts, and strong special effects. However, Spencer Susser, the only American in the otherwise Australian film group, switches structures with Edgerton, opting to start his film I Love Sarah Jane mean and to end it sweet.
I Love Sarah Jane opens with a beautiful tracking shot that follows timid young Jimbo, played by Brad Ashby, as he rides his bicycle through a post-apocalyptic zombieinfested world while brandishing a bow and arrow. The opening scene sets the film up to be pretty heavy for something titled I Love Sarah Jane. Nevertheless, Susser manages to create a believable, awkward, and vulnerable romance in the middle of the desolation with two convincing central teen performances by Jimbo and Sarah, who is played by Mia Wasikowska of Alice In Wonderland and The Kids Are Alright.
The interesting arch in the short is that despite the bulk of the running time being devoted to zombies, boys being boys, and killing, the childhood crush Jimbo develops seems even more scary and unpredictable than the zombies who surround them. Clearly at odds with his surviving friends, who are more interested in being hard asses in easy situations than dealing with their true emotions, Jimbo finds refuge in the enigmatic Sarah Jane. The only adults appearing are (un)dead and are for obvious reasons not too pleased to see these kids playing around with weapons and fire. Despite the apocalyptic setting of I Love Sarah Jane, the kids manage to ignore a lot of what's bad and even have the chance to fall in love.
Spencer Susser has made a number of award-winning shorts and in 2010 he debuted his feature film Hesher in competition at Sundance. The film starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman. Both Hesher and I Love Sarah Jane were co-written by Blue-Tongue member David Michod. Michod won the 2010 Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Film for his feature Animal Kingdom, which was later nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Susser’s newest film is a short co-directed and written with Nash Edgerton called The Captain, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Keep your eyes peeled for that one and enjoy I Love Sarah Jane below.
Jeffrey Bowers is a tall mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as an art and film curator. He is a programmer at the Hamptons International Film Festival and screens for the Tribeca Film Festival. He also self-publishes a super fancy mixed-media art serial called PRISM index.
Previously - 'The Ellington Kid'