978. Subconscious Password – Chris Landreth

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SUMMARY: A man runs into a former friend whose name he has forgotten and visualises his struggle to remember it as an episode of the gameshow ‘Password’.

WHY IT’S HERE: After his more intense and haunting films ‘Ryan’ and ‘The Spine’, the brilliant Chris Landreth turned his hand to comedy with ‘Subconscious Password’, albeit comedy filled with psychological deconstruction. In this ingenious and underrated film, Landreth runs into an enthusiastic friend whose name he can’t remember. Cajoled into having a drink with him, Landreth frantically wracks his brains in the short amount of time the friend is at the bar, and we see this struggle played out as an episode of the gameshow ‘Password’ in Landreth’s mind, in which various celebrities, influences on Landreth’s life and intimidating symbolic figures come together to give clues to the name ‘John’. Landreth has always been adept at psychologically unpicking his characters and during the short we see several psychological scars laid bare on the screen. When faced with James Joyce as one of the celebrity helpers, Landreth admits ‘I could never understand you, James’, while the appearance of a monstrous Ayn Rand brings about a full-on regression to infancy. Landreth also peppers the film with little references for animation fans. The studio audience includes characters such as Nina Paley’s Sita from ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ and John Dilworth’s ‘Dirdy Birdy’, the latter being particularly significant since the forgotten friend in ‘Subconscious Password’ is played by none other than Dilworth himself.

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