After the recent grueling set of experimental shorts, the batch of short films I watched last night was refreshingly okay! Nothing during the 3 hours of films either sucked outright or made me feel like I was going to have a stroke. Several were quite good, actually. In the "Response Abilities" showcase, I particularly enjoyed an artsy, animated piece called Endless Tunnel, featuring a sort of flipbook on steroids—a series of cutouts that give the appearance of figures moving through an accordion box. I can only imagine how many hours of work it must've taken, and the result was a delightful, playful ditty of a film. My favorite in this set—and one of my top picks overall—was called Short Term 12, about a 33-year-old guy facing 33-year-old problems and trying to keep it together in the juvy facility where he works. Great acting, subtle plotting, and excellent character development made this one completely gripping. Loved it!
The second set I watched, called "Sensory Overload," held fewer gems, but still, more than a few captivating moments. The animated French Roast was memorable for its Wallace and Gromit meets Triplets of Belleville style and humor. (The hunchbacked French waiter is priceless, and the homeless guy's hair is nothing short of spectacular.) And I found the sort of sci-fi-comic-book-poem Field Notes Dimension X: Oasis (also animated) strangely compelling. Exceedingly weird, but compelling.
Tonight is the official opening night of ShortsFest Weekend, which I'm guessing will be pretty great (wouldn't you want to kickoff a weekend of shorts with some of the strongest in your cache?). I'm looking forward to it. And only 9 more hours of short films to go!
ALSO: If you're looking for a feature length film to hit this weekend, don't miss The Garden! As is the case with the best documentaries, it's complex, stirring, inspiring, frustrating, and not at all what you think it's going to be.