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Red Princess Blues (2010)
Director: Alex Ferrari

review by Christopher Geary
With the great Robert Forster as narrator in 'storyteller' mode, this suspenseful short film (of 11 minutes) is by talented writer-director Alex Ferrari. Red Princess Blues is a quite stunning indie intro for instantly iconic Asian heroine, the titular princess (Rachel Grant). From its fascinating opening shots, this engagingly cinematic piece is rich in a sleazy modern fairy tale atmosphere where you can almost smell the amoral darkness and lazy corruption, before it erupts into action with surprisingly good stunt work.

Unwary teenager Zoe (Tabitha Morella) is lured backstage after hours at a seedy freak show carnival by lecherous Rimo (Richard Tyson). Zoe is rescued, from the clutches of a blatant sexual predator, by the mysterious Asian woman who's drinking alone at the makeshift bar in a tented 'lounge'. Although Red Princess Blues copies that iconic butterfly-knife confrontational one-upmanship from the opening credits sequence of Walter Hill's brilliant Streets Of Fire (1984), with visual riffs and actioner motifs from other movies, such as Hill's cult classic The Warriors (1979), its winning combination of rock 'n' roll saloon brawl with martial artistry, quality performances, and climactic gunplay ensures this striking low-budget vignette impresses because it aims higher to be a lot more than just the sum of grindhouse sensibility and offbeat genre references.

With excellent set design, colourful CGI, and plenty of imaginative sheen over sinister ambience of its anecdote-sized but nonetheless highly allusive plot: one innocent girl meets big bad wolf, Red Princess Blues is a nifty calling card from an obviously genre literate filmmaker. While too many other hi-def newcomers and wannabes follow the upstart route, scraping together petty-cash budgets and churning out feature-length projects that are usually dismal, here's an enterprising award-winner credited with a variety of short movies and video documentaries.

While so many of today's crappy feature 'thrillers' only leaves cinephiles wishing that the filmmakers had first served some type of apprenticeship training to acquire basic filmmaking and storytelling skills they obviously lack, Red Princess Blues is more like the very best short films of this kind, because it leaves the viewer eager for more, with a hope that its creators will soon get necessary funding for a feature-length project. A 90-minute version of this superb short film would certainly be an appealing prospect.

Red Princess Blues

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