Angelina Jolie’s film career commenced with soft bursts of misandry. In the early 1990s, she starred in two, 2-minute shorts directed by Steven Shainburg: Angela & Viril and Alice & Viril (1993). If you’re a fan of Andy Warhol, these films might remind you of his famed screen-tests (see: Nico, Edie Sedgwick). They share an unflinching fixation on their subjects’ emoted inner lives.

Angela & Viril

As Angela, Jolie is an eerie meditator. A voiceover announces that Viril (whose wide eyes betray desire and fright), is typing numbers 1 through 1,000 on a typewriter. No reasoning or justification is provided for this tedious activity. Viril is simply on edge, typing, while Angela sits still and somber. A score of moody piano jazz frames their odd cohabitation.

Click, click, click goes the monotonous typewriter, transformed into a metronome by the film’s as-yet unspoken subtext. As Viril types numbers 731, 732, 733, 734, 735… the narrator finally provides us with the pretext of this dalliance: “The steady rhythm of his fingers on the keys helps to regulate Angela’s breathing and clear her mind…”

So, what happens if Viril stops typing?: A small catastrophe.

When Viril presses the wrong key, the sound effect of a strong wind enters the story; it sounds like the interior of a crashing plane. The camera cuts to Viril’s wide eyes, and then Angela’s stiffened back. She turns, scowling. She corrects his mistake, chiding, “748.” Her irritation and his fear are palpable. When he errs, she can’t keep her peace.

The implicit threat?: If she can’t keep her peace, neither will he.

When Viril finds his place, Angela returns to her former pose, and the screen fades to the gray-black tone the scene began with.

Watch the full film here.

Alice & Viril

Like Angela, this film’s atmosphere precipitates from moody jazz, though it soon becomes an electric guitar riff. This score matches the excitement of Alice’s contemptuous vixen.

As Alice, Jolie is a premeditating sadist. The narrator informs us that Alice “has asked Viril to hold his head underwater for 3 minutes.” They’d met the same day at a business convention, and Viril made the mistake of saying “something which struck Alice as small-minded.” As the hands on her stopwatch revolve, Alice glares at him. She’s outstretched on a yellow couch: wearing a spotless white dress, holding a cigarette.

Unaware of the danger he’s in, Viril’s thoughts roam trifling subjects such as the evolution of mankind from aquatic organisms, and our ironic inability to breathe underwater.

Alice smirks, biding time as his lungs lose air. Maybe her wonderland is one without man. Or at least, one without Viril.

Watch the full film here.

Despite the narrator’s encouragement to peep un-virile Viril and his femme fatales, watching these shorts felt like tresspassing. It was scandalous (like being a fly on the wall) to catch Jolie’s doppelgängers in private moments of cruelty. Even after multiple viewings, I was fully taken in by the films’ sensory experiments. They’re studies in tension, character, and intrigue.