The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Short Days, Short Films: 5 Films in 7 Minutes!

Short Days, Short Films: 5 Films in 7 Minutes!

Short Days, Short Films: 5 Films in 7 Minutes!

Pop quiz: what’s made up of a short burst of light, colour, activity, and fun, but ends too soon and leaves you wanting more?

Sorry, but that was a trick question. There are actually two answers: short films and short days.

Up here at 45.5000° N, 73.5667° W (a.k.a. Montreal, Canada), the sun starts to dip into the horizon around 5:00 pm at this time of year and rises around 7:15 am every morning. With those 9 hours and 45 minutes full of teeth-brushing, dressing, transit-riding, chatting, typing, eating, drinking, and being blinded by the sharp sun bouncing off the snow outside our windows, what else can we do to fill those dark hours before and after? We could stay inside and watch a few films, of course!

🎞️ Short days, short films 🎞️

We’ve compiled a fun little selection of some of our shortest films to honour these very, very short days that barely give us time to glimpse the sun. Many of these are great for kids, too, so snuggle up with your best wool blanket and hit play. Start off with the irrepressibly charming bear in Meltdown: the poor guy’s out of a job since the Arctic melted! He’s gotta trudge into the city with a briefcase and a CV to look for a job. But will he have any luck? Find out:

Meltdown, Carrie Mombourquette, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Fun-filled children’s flick or contemporary surveillance state allegory? 👁️ You decide.👁️

Another one for the kids incidentally blends with some pertinent adult interests too: in Wiggles and Giggles, a group of dancing party-goers is accosted by a giant head. As the Beastie Boys so wisely warned, these dancers must fight for their right to party. Kids will no doubt love the lively music, bright colours, and enthusiastic dancing at the heart of the film, but there’s something darker going on here that adults might catch on to…

A disembodied head posturing as a Big Brother-esque all-seeing eye prevents ordinary citizens from enjoying life and sociability in their private party-space. Could we read an allegory here for the contemporary surveillance state and the invasion of privacy? Is the film’s succinct yet deeply disturbing conclusion a veiled call-to-action that insists the infiltration of oppressive state institutions is the only successful disruption of a force so pervasive that it cannot be ignored, fought, or eliminated? Then again, upon re-viewing, the giant head’s visage bears a strange resemblance to the infamous masks worn by members of the “Anonymous” internet vigilante group (a visage also made famous in V for Vendetta, the 1982-1989 graphic narrative by Alan Moore and 2005 film of the same name directed by James McTeigue). Is our giant head playing both sides? Does the allegory extend to both fighter and fought? How can we tell friend from foe?

At a total running time of one minute and 29 seconds, you certainly have the time to watch the film and see for yourself. I welcome alternative readings of the film, equally as absurd as or more than my own, in the comments below this post.

Wiggles and Giggles, Sara Guindon, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

📽️ A few more shorts for a few more days

For urban enthusiasts and travellers, take a few seconds to revel in the beats and harmonies of the metropolis in Orange. This is what it would feel like if the city was truly alive and breathing. And if you really consider yourself a traveller, you may want to take the advice given in Catapult Canada. Forget planes, trains, and cars! Why not take a catapult over to your next vacation destination? It may not be accurate, but it sure is fast (and fun). And finally, for those hopeless anglophones that just desperately want to feel like a part of our beautiful bilingual nation, take a look at Instant French. No French? No problem! With this parody of a handy As-Seen-On-TV device, you no longer have to say “Je suis désolé, mais je ne parle pas français.”

Orange, Sylvie Trouvé, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Canada Vignettes: Catapult Canada, Bill Maylone, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Canada Vignettes: Instant French, André Leduc, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

… and there’s always something quick to enjoy in our dedicated collection of Ultra Short Films🍿



Add a new comment
  1. Thank you for sharing these amazing and very interesting stories with us. I am sure people will get inspired from these movies.

  2. Love the short-shorts, BUT, Instant French was quite to the point, until the fake credits. They had to be so obviously Jewish names? Give me a break! Very anti-Semitic, don’t you know? I have an Anglo-north Ireland name, why wasn’t a name such as mine included? I am disgusted.

    — JanisT,
    1. Hi JanisT,

      Thanks for your feedback. The names you see at the end of “Instant French” are all meant to be a parody of Steinberg’s, a real-life supermarket chain that existed at the time this film was made. We are certain this was not done with the intention to offend. And after all, the film was made 35 years ago, so what may appear odd in today’s context was perhaps a form of parody at the time.

    2. OK thanks for the explanation. Not being from Quebec, 35 yrs ago or presently, I did not make the connection. Still hit a nerve though. I shouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion I did, I guess. Thanks SO Z ugh for getting back to me! I can’t do without my fix of the NFB.

      — JanisT,
    3. We’re always glad to hear from our viewers. Stay in touch!

  3. charming films…just reinforces the belief I have that one does not need too many words or long scenes to get the point across succinctly and with humor. Well done…thank you NFB.

    — kiran,
    1. Thanks Kiran. You’re right that communicating briefly can be very powerful. Glad you enjoyed the films!

Write your comment here