The decor is all late ‘60s camp - a combination of placid pop art and the Madison Avenue interpretation of cool chic. The characters are straight out of a disconnected ‘90s RomCom - unable to express their true feelings while sipping cup after cup of carefully brewed tea. The narrative approach is piecemeal and wonderfully wonky - girl anticipates phone call, girls gets call, girl reacts badly, dreams are discussed, boy’s obsession with girl grows in unsettling ways. By the end, when all the confused emotions are being delineated in a delicious, dirge like musical number, Jamie Travis’ Patterns Trilogy (part of an overview of the filmmaker’s short films available on DVD from Zeitgeist Films) finally comes into focus - and it’s a satisfying view for sure.
Often compared to David Lynch and Todd Solondz (though the aesthetic and eventual message are uniquely his own), the 31 year old Canadian artist has been carving out a unique niche in the often unsympathetic realm of short form cinema since the debut of his dark, deranged Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner in 2003. Since then, we’ve had the equally morose - and very funny - The Saddest Boy in the World, and the aforementioned romantic misadventures of Pauline and Michael. Based within a Good Housekeeping nightmare of surreal set designs and recognizable product placement, Travis takes us on a journey of character driven self-discovery that often yields oddball, unsettling results. Even better, he does so with a Charles Addams/Edward Gorey blackness that skews everyday life into something imposingly evil.