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Seven Short Films You Can Stream on Netflix Right Now

Seven Short Films You Can Stream on Netflix Right Now

Unless it’s a superhero movie or Martin Scorsese drama, it seems like fewer and fewer people are interested in watching long movies these days.

Blame TikTok videos or a never-ending social media algorithm or whatever you want. But the truth is, the average person is more likely to watch a short video over a two-hour movie most days of the week.

Fortunately, filmmakers have found a happy medium by crafting interesting and unique films in a short amount of time — and we do mean short. Fan favorites like David Lynch or Wes Anderson have produced extraordinary short films that often go unnoticed due to higher-budget films. But if you’ve got a Netflix subscription, you’ve got the chance to watch some intriguing and thought-provoking movies that will stick with you longer than the film’s short runtime.

With dozens of titles to choose from, here’s a few of RELEVANT’s favorite short films streaming on Netflix:

1. The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar

In Wes Anderson’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s short story, “The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar,” the titular character, a wealthy and idle playboy, discovers a method of seeing without his eyes. Intrigued by the gambling possibilities of such an ability, he devotes himself to learning the technique. After years of training, Henry achieves his goal and begins to win big at casinos around the world. However, his newfound power comes at a cost, as he is forced to adopt disguises and travel constantly to avoid the authorities. As his story unfolds, Henry learns the value of humility and compassion, and ultimately discovers that there are more important things in life than money and gambling.

2. Out of Many, One

Short films are a great way to present important information in a succinct way. Out of Many, One explores the American citizenship process through the eyes of immigrants from all over the world. Despite their diverse backgrounds, the film’s subjects are united by their shared dream of becoming U.S. citizens. As they prepare for the citizenship test, they learn about American history and government, and reflect on what it means to be an American. The film offers a timely and inspiring look at the American immigration experience, and celebrates the diversity that makes the United States a nation of many, united as one.

3. The Swan

Cr. Netflix ©2023

The Swan, another Roald Dahl-Wes Anderson crossover, is a departure from the director’s usual lighthearted fare. The film stars Rupert Friend as adult Peter Watson, who recounts the story of his childhood trauma to a stranger. As a young boy (played by Asa Jennings), Peter was bullied by two older boys, Ernie and Raymond. The bullies subjected Peter to a series of increasingly horrific acts, including making him lie down on train tracks and witness the death of a swan. And despite its brevity, The Swan is one of Anderson’s most emotionally resonant films. The film is a powerful exploration of the trauma of bullying and its lasting effects. It’s also a testament to Anderson’s skills as a filmmaker that he is able to create such a compelling and disturbing story in just 17 minutes.

(L to R) Richard Ayoade as Editor/Reporter and Rupert Friend as Claud in The Rat Catcher. Cr. Netflix ©2023

Wes Anderson’s third Netflix short film, The Rat Catcher, is a dark and twisty tale of empathy and prejudice. Based on a Roald Dahl short story, the film centers on a titular rodent hunter (Ralph Fiennes) who is enlisted in dispensing with a local infestation of rats. But what starts out as a simple premise quickly becomes something much more complex and disturbing. In just 17 minutes, Anderson manages to create a fully fleshed-out world with its own unique characters, rules and themes. The film is also visually stunning, with Anderson’s signature style on full display.

At its core, The Rat Catcher is a film about empathy and the importance of seeing the world from other perspectives. The film challenges us to question our own prejudices and to consider the humanity of even those who are different from us. while reminding us that we should never judge others without first understanding their stories.

5. What Did Jack Do?

One of Hollywood’s most enigmatic and celebrated auteurs, David Lynch used his short film What Did Jack Do? to show off his unique and unsettling style. The film stars Lynch himself as a detective interrogating a capuchin monkey named Jack Cruz, who he believes has committed a crime. Later on, the story comes to involve a chicken and a waitress, although it remains ambiguous as to what actually happened. The film is a perfect example of Lynch’s ability to make absurd films that are equal parts funny and unsettling. From Lynch’s signature trademarks — surreal imagery, dreamlike logic and enigmatic characters — to nonsensical dialogue, you’ll be hooked for the entire 17-minute runtime.

6. Zion

Sure. there are countless stories about wrestlers, but what makes Zion Clark’s story so unique is that he’s a high school wrestler who was born without legs. Despite this challenge, he never let his disability stop him from achieving his dreams. And in the short film Zion, we follow the high school student on his journey to becoming a state champion wrestler. Right away, you’ll find out that Clark is an incredibly charismatic and likable young man, and it’s impossible not to root for him. In just 11 minutes, his story will move you, inspire you and make you believe that anything is possible.

(L to R) Dev Patel as Woods, Sir Ben Kingsley as Dr. Ganderbai and Benedict Cumberbatch as Harry in Poison. Cr. Netflix ©2023

Wes Anderson’s final short film for Netflix, Poison, is a dark-humored three-hander based on Roald Dahl’s short story of the same name. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Harry, a man who wakes up one night to find a krait, a venomous snake, on his stomach. He calls his friend Timber (Dev Patel) for help, and together they summon Dr. Ganderbai (Ben Kingsley) to devise a plan to remove the snake without getting bitten. The film is a tense and claustrophobic affair, with the three characters trapped in Harry’s bungalow as they try to figure out how to save his life. Anderson’s trademark visual style is on full display, with the film’s carefully composed frames and symmetrical compositions creating a sense of both beauty and menace. But Poison is more than just a stylish thriller. It’s also a meditation on fear and its relation to human perception. Harry is terrified of the snake, but is his fear real, or is it simply a product of his own imagination? The film doesn’t offer any easy answers, but it leaves the viewer with plenty to think about long after the credits have rolled.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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