Saturday, April 2, 2011

CIFF Take Two

Independent Shorts Program 11

This was the Saturday 11 am feature, which I picked because of the mention of a woman going to the moon in one film, and the mention of flying books in another. Also, Emmy Levine, our primary CIFF coverage from last year, mentioned that the shorts was a category more likely to be a repository of women directors. This Saturday morning visit was full of surprises and worth the time as well as the voucher.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, USA, 17 minutes) while not specifically challenging gender, illustrated in a delightful way the process of an author writing and creating a book in a library with an attendant audience of books eagerly helping him, and then flying off to author heaven led by a clutch of balloon-like books on a handful of strings as he regains his youth. Meanwhile, on the steps of the library, a youthful reader checks out the book he leaves behind.

The Spaceship (Emil Mkrttchian, Sweden, 25 minutes) was the one about the woman who wants to go to the moon. Turns out this is not science fiction at all, but the science fiction impacted imagination of a mentally challenged young woman who has a talking red rabbit to keep her company as she imagines her goal of getting there in imaginary spaceships. Abandoned by her mother who checks into a mental hospital when abandoned by her father, who is disturbed by having a child who is different, she cycles around town bearing the insult of “retard” by those who consider her different. She befriends the owner of a pizza parlor who refuses to hire her, although he too, as she eventually points out, harbors a fantasy: of going on a safari. She eventually does get him to give her a job, and cooks for other borderline, homeless, strange, and different people who dance in the streets enjoying her obviously innovative pizzas they are willing to take a chance on. There is a fantasy section when she goes to the moon, however; as she pops out, she sees an electrical being who turns out to be a vehicle for the flashback to her originally diagnosing psychiatrist who had thrown her father into a tizzy about how she would have a hard life, labeled for being so different.

Last Rain (Tony Sanchez and David Sanz, Spain, 20 minutes) doesn’t really challenge gender, but it could be about time travelling and past or future lives; go see it. It won a Oaxaca Film Festival.

Interview (Sebastian Marka, Germany, 20 minutes) seems, for a brief minute, to be a challenge of gender as a woman takes out an ad to send an actor to pose as a serial killer of women that her husband, a journalist, is interviewing; except, the killer answers the ad and actually kills her.

As the Rain Was Falling (Charlotte Joulia, France, 9 minutes) tricks the viewer into believing that a man and a woman caught in the rain start to have an affair. The bell rings interrupting their start of a kiss, and the viewer discovers the two are a separated couple passing off things and a kid at school. Doesn’t fit our category, but it’s still good.

Another good film is Heirlooms (Wendy Chandler and Susan Danta, Australia, 10 minutes), which is a series of short animations about precious objects of a series of children around the world.

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