Beau (Ari Aster, 2011, USA)

Beau is a 2011 short film by Ari Aster, and one of the director's earliest short films. The film opens with a title card - "BEAU" written in white text on a black screen with the text beneath it shifting "CANNOT - SHOULD NOT - WILL NOT - SLEEP." When we enter the film, Beau is in his apartment and packing his belongings. A large stack of medication is on his shelf, and he throws one of the bottles into his suitcase - he is going on some kind of trip. He returns to gather some floss and sees that the door he left behind is open.

He enters the hallway and sees a man approaching from the operating direction. The man (played by Aster) tells Beau - "you're f*cked, pal!" We then shift forward in time, and Beau is complaining to his mom that he could not visit her because of the bad omen. Later that night, Beau hears something and sees what appears to be a fur hat. He grabs a pair of hedge trimmers to defend himself. Later in bed, he is awakened by a couple in the hallway - and the woman yells at him. Another man yells at him on a phone call.

It is clear at this point that Beau is having some kind of mental breakdown. A first-person perspective shows that he has created some kind of contraption with a knife and that he is scribbling on a puzzle book. The film culminates in a confrontation between what appears to be a homeless attacker and Beau, but if this is real or imagined - we do not know. Beau is an interesting film that shows Aster playing with an unreliable narrator, something he would revisit in his later films Hereditary and Midsommar.