By the time the last day of a festival arrives, fatigue begins to set in. I gave serious consideration to limiting myself to a couple of screenings, but in the end decided to take in another group of shorts as well. I’m glad I did. These were the best shorts I’ve seen at the festival this time around.
Grouped into a program entitled “Reality vs. Short Fantasy” these have a bit of play between what is real and imagined. The first in the group, The Save, is about a pitcher in the bottom of the ninth, but we see no one else on the fields or in the stands. He is alone and struggling until someone comes along who believes in him. Mental is a story of a psychiatrist and his patients, but it isn’t quite what we think. Marvin the Clown was a delightful look at various stages of life as lived by a clown. This has a bit of a Tim Burton feel to it. Also somewhat Burtonesque (with a touch of Dr. Seuss) was Like Father, a story of a child fearing the monster under the bed. There was great humor in Good Luck, Mr. Gorski, a fictional story about Neil Armstrong’s childhood neighbors on the day of the moon landing. When Armstrong says something odd from the lunar surface it brings back to the Gorskis a “promise” made 30 years ago that young Neil overheard. Graffitiger was an interesting animation combined with real world settings of spray painted tigers moving around a city. Children of the Air is a somewhat dark riff on the fairy tale The Little Mermaid. Blue is a man in a bad dream or some sort of time shifting world.
Julie Delpy’s new film Le Skylab is a slice of life film that takes place in an extended family weekend in Brittany. The film does a wonderful job of capturing the kinds of relationships that exist between cousins of various ages and the differences within a large family. We see this family with both warmth and warts. It is set in 1979 as the Skylab is due to reenter—possibly in western France. There are no big events that take place, just the little everyday events that make up life.
Collaborator is the story of a famous writer who, visiting his mother, ends up being taken hostage by a former neighbor. Although they have grown up across the street from each other, their lives have turned out very different. Over the course of the evening, with police and TV cameras surrounding them, they must deal with past and possible futures which may be difficult for them both.
I think this weekend I may try to sit outside and just watch the world as it happens, not as it is screened.