There is something about a man in a suit with a swagger that is timeless and cool. Frank Sinatra knew it. James Bond knows it. Apparently, filmmakers Daniel Cloud Campos and Spencer Susser know it, too. Fresh off their premiere of "Shiny" at the Sundance Film Festival last month, they've released the film—which features one hell of a suit—online for the whole world to see. The twist to this particular suit story, however, is that there isn't a body inside it.
The film is the classic story about an "everyman" protecting a damsel in distress. Luckily, the way they did it they were able to keep the "cool," the suit, and the swagger all while not having to worry about actors, sets, and locations. To do this, Campos and Susser smartly used stop-motion animation to tell their story by bringing entire outfits to vivid life. With a mounted camera high above a wooden floor, the directing duo hammered out a remarkably choreographed scenario where a few pieces of clothing perfectly characterize robbers, a confident woman, a dashing man, and a gaggle of passersby. The sensation of reality is enhanced by a fantastic sound design, where a simple sigh, cough, scream, footstep, or punch calls to mind that invisible mouth, foot, or fist. The most stunning thing about a small department store's worth of clothing coming to life isn't the telling of a mugging gone wrong but rather the staggeringly real sense of movement and action.
Dedicated readers will know this isn't the first Spencer Susser short featured on VICE. Way back in the seventh "I'm Short, Not Stupid," I covered his amazing short film "I Love Sarah Jane," about a girl named Sarah and a whole mess of zombies. Part of the change in tone and style might be due, in part, to his co-director Daniel Cloud Campos, who is an acclaimed dancer and choreographer as well as a music video and film director.
All in all, "Shiny" is a joy to watch and behold. If clothes could move on their own, this is the first thing I'd want to watch them do after they came off people (although I'd still give the people a watch first).
Jeffrey Bowers is a tall mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as a film curator. He's the senior curator for Vimeo's On Demand platform. He has also programmed at Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and the Hamptons International Film Festival.