I’m kind of speechless after watching “Joke,” a 3-minute short film that uses sound effects and images, and a brilliant vocal performance by Kevin Yon, to tell a series of jokes. No narrative, no story or themes to explore, just the art of the delivery. It’s pretty much a masterpiece, in fact.
The director, Nickolas Duarte, described the film to me this way when he asked me to screen it for review: “‘Joke’ is an experimental film that explores comedy, art and dissonance through means of still life inspired techniques. Honestly though, it’s not even about that at all. It’s about making a firm statement and playing on expectations.” This film is all of that, as well as a darkly acerbic gem of cinematic comedy that is both an art film, as well as a delicious parody of what we think of when we think of an “art film.” (The best possible comparison I can make is to the scenes of the rabbit sitcom in David Lynch’s “INLAND EMPIRE,” but I’m not even sure if that would make sense to most people.) The only thing I can really say is the ending was a glorious punchline, and comedy is subjective. If you want to see it for yourself, look it up in Vimeo.com, and make up your own mind. As for me? I’m curious to see if another film will match “Joke’s” wicked sense of self, and note-perfect conclusion.