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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Charlie and the Rabbit’ muses on childhood without words

    Among Thursday’s introduction to the Arizona International Film Festival was the intriguing non-dialogue short “”Charlie and the Rabbit.””

    In 10 minutes, the American short exhibited the merits of a strikingly simple narrative. One morning 4-year-old Charlie watches a cartoon of Elmer Fudd tracking down the fugitive Bugs Bunny. Later that day, the boy pedals out to a derelict field with a BB rifle slung over his back and hunts down a wascally wabbit of his own. The film boils down to whether or not Charlie can pull the trigger while the muzzle of his gun is pressed against a wee woodland creature’s furry temple.

    Filmmakers Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck effectively manipulate the audience’s emotions like puppeteers, at first portraying Charlie as the epitome of adorable, then implicating him as a potential heartless killer at the film’s climax. A subjective camera trails Charlie intimately as he trundles down the street on his bicycle, invoking shades of Kubrick’s claustrophobic tricycle antics in “”The Shining.”” The effortless amusement of childhood is made palpable when Charlie reaches his swamp-ish hunting ground, pausing to take potshots at a collection of discarded beer bottles and crumpled aluminum cans. A slight shift in tone occurs when it becomes obvious that, for a kid, Charlie is a pretty damn good shot.

    Perhaps more impressive than the subtle shifts in character is the fact that a cohesive, character-based plot is delivered with only one actor and practically no dialogue. The film is not afraid to replace telling conversation or voiceover with immersive ambient noise, and essentially creates a believable, multidimensional character through simple actions and reactions alone. Whether you see it as a critique on America’s gun-crazy culture or an inconsequential rumination on childhood, “”Charlie and the Rabbit”” is undeniably an interesting experiment in minimalistic storytelling.

    See “”Charlie and the Rabbit”” at The Screening Room at 4 p.m. on Friday.

    Check out arts editor Steven Kwan’s reviews of the other opening night shorts at


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