The set of 7 shorts examined in the Stranger In A Strange Land programme focus on the notion of being a fish out of water. Indeed, one of the shorts is just about that. From an urban cowboy to a baby troll, watch as these characters experience the unknown, both in themselves and in their environments.
Reinaldo Arenas (4 min) is a thought-provoking experimental black and white trip involving the disposal of a nearly 6-foot long shark on a residential Miami street and it just so happens to be based on a true story. Question: Is the narrator the man we see throughout the short short, or is it the shark? Hmm…I suppose they’re both accidental immigrants in their own way.
Ursus (10 min) is a wonderful, hand-drawn animation piece from Latvia that considers the plight of a carnival bear looking for meaning in his life. Engrossing and yet another brilliant piece of animation at the festival, with love in every frame of this picture.
I Am John Wayne (18 min) by Christina Choe of New York contains a plot that would be at home in a Jim Jarmusch movie with Taco, a black teen from a rough neighborhood who must transport his best friend Jerry’s horse Chance across town after Jerry is murdered. There’s enough here for an interesting feature and Choe is a natural-born director who brings much sympathy to these characters.
The Crossing of the Living Room (19 min) is the best work of fiction in this series as it considers a middle-aged French-Canadian woman named Celine who is in the process of reinventing her life after a stint in rehab. Genevieve Albert shows natural gifts as a director by just following Celine and not giving her any kind of plot other than to see her through the beginnings of her mundane sobriety. Micheline Bernard gives an emotionally honest performance as Celine, a woman who suggests much inner life without ever revealing it, making her and this film a fascinating watch.
Odysseus’ Gambit (12 min) is one of the best docs you’ll see all week, this one about the unusually strange story of Saravath Inn, a Cambodian man air-lifted out of his home country in his youth by the American military, only to be deposited in the States as a “displaced person”, making it impossible for him to fully join American society. He gets by playing chess in New York City parks, though he would want you to know that “I’m not a chess player; I’m an entertainer” because of his skill for prearranging a board in order to teach people moves to avoid as well playable moves, all of which relate to life, of course. Totally absorbing experience and one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve met on film this busy week.
From Germany comes the rather droll The Changeling (9 min), a water-colored animated fable about a married couple who must adopt a baby troll after their own child has been taken from them. A funny take on acceptance.
Scott Thompson is Bob London in The Immigrant (20 min), a washed-up 90′s actor that the U.S. deported back to Canada and for good reason: nobody appears to like him since he’s only managed to offend everyone in his path with big and reckless mouth. Michael Cera, Will Forte, Margaret Cho and Dave Foley guest-star in this slight piece of niceness lacking any real bite.
Check out our coverage of the WorldWide Short Film Festival:
- Now Onto The ‘Homeland Security’ Programme - Xavierpop Takes On The ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ Programme - MovieJay Reviews The “All Tomorrow’s Parties” Programme - Douglas Godhino Reviews The ‘Superfans’ Programme - Xavierpop Takes on The “Creative Control” Programme - MovieJay Reviews the “War, What Is It Good For?” Programme - MovieJay Reviews ‘The Family Compact” Programme - Next Up A Look At the ‘Iron Ladies’ Programme - Xavierpop Covers ‘The Love Hurts’ Official Selection - A Break-Down The ‘Who’s Your Dada?’ Programme - MovieJay Reviews The Opening Night Gala: Winners From Around the World - The @xvrpop Ultimate Worldwide Short Film Fest Preview - The CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival’s Screenplay $50,000 Giveaway is Back!