Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Frameline 32 -- Who Likes Short Shorts?

Wrapping up the Frameline 32 film festival, let me pause to discuss some of the more interesting shorts that were screened in the festival's final week. In no random order, they are:

Hirsute This deliciously droll Canadian short by A. J. Bond shows that time travel can present some rather bizarre challenges, especially when you discover what a future, hairless, and extremely obnoxious version of yourself might be like. What this film has in spades is a combination of a solid artistic vision, intelligence, style, wit, and pacing that constantly challenges and amuses the audience. Loved it!

In The High School Xavi Sala's three-minute short from Spain shows a fidgety teenager sitting on a bench that he shares with a middle-aged man. The boy's erratic behavior starts to cause some concern for the older man who might, and then again might not, be cruising him. One wonders if a drug deal is going down, or if there is a threat of violence in the offing until, with typical teenage bluntness, Angel looks at the man and asks "Why don't you just go ahead and show me your dick?"

Screening Party Director Chil Kong's hilarious 25-minute short tracks a group of friends as they screen and dissect "Pretty Woman" at a private party. Garry Marshall, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are not spared one ounce of humiliation as writer Dennis Hensley and his dishy friends sharpen their fangs, claws, and anything else that can draw blood. Nora Burns adds psychiatric insult to injury as the supposedly authoritative "Dr. Beverly Beaverman."

The Window An obvious favorite with audiences, this three-minute comic masterpiece directed by Philippe Gosselin and Ronald Regina splits the screen into three segments that each zoom in on the bedroom window of identical apartments. As the occupants settle in and start to discover the joys of exhibitionism, hidden desires to strip bubble up from within. Their narcissism comes to the fore, builds and erupts all over the window panes as the audience laughs, cheers, and begs for more. Wonderful performances by three very average men (needless to say, the guy with the biggest dick is the one whose fantasy involves a pair of bright red pumps).

Bongo Bong Ken Wardrop's five-minute snoopfest focuses in on the suppositions of a group of neighbors on a Belgian cul de sac who all have their opinions about the strange middle-aged bachelor who lives in their midst. Filled with ignorance, bias, and hilarity, the film is capped off when the man walks down the street with his middle finger held high for all his neighbors to see.

HerzHaft In Martin Busker's taut 15-minute film from Germany, a 33-year-old high school football coach's involvement with one of his young players accelerates toward an unhappy ending as the boy, his mother and the coach all struggle to accept some harsh realities. Well written and beautifully filmed.

Ta In Felipe Sholl's five-minute treat from Brazil, two teenaged boys in a bathroom boast of their experience using cocaine and the effect it has had on their erections. After snorting some blow with less than optimal results, they move on to fluffing as a means of speeding up the drug's potency. Some great comic moments.

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