A stellar cast of films has made up the shorts programs I have attended. Some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, some are tear-jerking affectionate pieces that make you wish you hadn't sat next to that gorgeous stranger in the theater, some are just plain confusing but enjoyable in the way they play with the audience.
All of these were found in the Shorts Program 5.
The Palace of Light made me laugh out loud at its ridiculousnosity. It follows a CEO dead set on denying his company progress. Why? Because it's Shredded Wheat, that's why. They've never changed and since it still sells well, the CEO hires under-qualified, useless employees to ensure that the company's stasis remains unscathed. When you stop and think about it's kinda spot on. So Hilarious. This film: A-
In contrast, There's Bliss in the Kiss was nothing amazing. It looked and was thought out like a first-year student film. The princes and Frog amateurishly done. Thankfully it was only 2 minutes long. This film: D
12 Stones was a thoughtful look at the Heifer program instituted in Nepal to teach village women how to do everything from cooking, cleaning, and caring for their families, to nurturing each other emotionally and respecting themselves. It is a great look at something hopeful (for a change) that is occurring in the same world that's otherwise filled with violence, hate, greed, etc... This film: B+
After Tomorrow is so well thought out that I took it for terrible cinema for the first 5 minutes. The film morphs from something short of plain to a near horror state and finally settles in a sad and painful realization. The protagonist, a young man, wakes in what he says is a Bed and Breakfast, greeted by an older woman he calls the owner. He quickly realizes he's being slipped pills and when he tries to escape to go meet his wife all of the doors are locked. Sinister shots of the owner of the house and her friend turn the film into claustrophobic scenario that you think is going end with a shot of the Bates Motel. But you're still forced to consider why this character seems so disoriented and incapable of problem solving. He escapes only to find the landscape nothing like he remembers. He is recaptured and in the final scene, the painful revelation that the older woman he believes is the owner is actually the wife he is searching for. As he is shown a final time, we see that he is actually an elderly man, and quickly realize he is a sufferer of Alzheimer's who remembers only his youth and his young wife. It's a quick punch to the gut that happens so fast your face goes numb. Dial up your tissues. This Film: B
Oh man. Talk about the worst day of your young life - a day that literally destroys any semblance of a healthy adulthood. Een Kleine Duw is just hard to watch. A perfect storm overtakes one day in the life of what may very well be world most innocent looking child. It's a trifecta of darkness. The list goes as such: 1) Boy sees beached whale, hopes whale survives. Whale dies. 2) Boy is tormented by bully & at long last retaliates. Gets punished & publicly humiliated by his teacher for retaliating. 3) His dad dies - he doesn't know this yet; he's on his way home to discover this as the film ends. You'll need exactly 7.32 minutes to recover after this one. This film: B+
Look for a somber me at the CIFF tonight.