Two short films by Jesse Epstein concluded the first day of the first BITE ME! film fest. One was about the pressure to undergo cosmetic surgery, while the other looked at the mannequin manufacturing industry.In The Guarantee , a gifted young male ballet academy student is badgered by his teacher to get a nose job; supposedly, his large nose would get in the way of his career. Though he likes his nose just fine, he eventually gives in to the pressure, even though he’s told it would not guarantee him a contract with a ballet company. The story is told through drawings, which are quickly sketched as the main character narrates the events. This film reminds the viewers that body image issues affect males as well as females, and that seemingly trivial matters can be blown out of proportion by unfair societal standards. It is a frustrating look at the shallowness that seems to penetrate even the most skill-based types of the entertainment industry.
The second film takes a look at an industry ruled entirely by shallow standards. Have you ever felt a little spooked by store window mannequins and the joyless stares on their contorted bodies? 34x25x36 peeks into the process of manufacturing these uncanny objects. The title the film is the standard measurement used to create female mannequins, which is why you always see them come in the one body type. The mannequin designers in the film say creepy things like “There are no perfect women. We make the perfect women”. One of them even likens his work to European religious statues, both in terms of portraying people you don’t know the way you imagine them, and in terms of worshipping the fashionable products that mannequin display the way people might worship the saints. Now, when you pass by a clothing store, you’ll know the strange things that go on in the minds of the people that make the alien-esque figures you see there.