Mother, Father, Son (Oliver Hockenhull)
Composed of a series of family photographs and military archival footage, Hockenhull traces his father’s reluctant participation in the assault of Dresden as a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force (a bombing that his father would subsequently describe as a “war crime”) and in the process, creates a powerful and relevant statement on the government’s role (and complicity) as a “weapon of mass destruction” in its pervasive and expedient manipulation of information.
Homebound/Balikbayan (Larilyn Sanchez and Riza Manalo)
Homebound is a humorous, engaging, and ironic short film told from the perspective of a letter sent home by an overseas worker through the family matriarch traveling alone, along with a variety of imported goods and explicit instructions on how the care package is to be divided among their extended family. Sanchez and Manalo create a simple, yet affectionate and culturally intimate film on obligation, family, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.
Chubby Buddy (Erika Yeomans)
Inspired by the suspense novels of Patricia Highsmith and the upper, middle-class milieu of John Cheever, Chubby Buddy is an intelligently conceived and well-executed comic mystery that combines original and 1970s television footage (most notably, Hawaii Five-O) on a neglected husband’s increasing obsession with the collection of ubiquitous stuffed animals as a surrogate for his wife’s estranged affection and to escape the monotony of his predictable, white-collar life.
Dad’ Dead (Chris Shepard)
Dad’ Dead is a technically accomplished and effectively paced story of two friends whose relationship is irrecoverably severed when one feigns a father’s death in order to avoid a meeting. Although Dad’ Dead is indeed well crafted and features competent digitally rendered effects, the stylization and self-conscious “hipness” look to the film calls a bit too much attention to itself for my taste.
Crossing the Rainbow Bridge (Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukaçs)
Presented in split screen dual-channel, Crosssing the Rainbow Bridge is a goofy, patently offbeat, and saccharine sweet tale of love and loss told through intentionally dated visual effects and nostalgic, campy, AM radio pop songs; interesting from a retro kitsch perspective, but ultimately forgettable.
Kings of the Hill (Yael Bartana)
An unusual and often amusing, but overlong Reality TV-like video footage of off-road sport utility vehicle owners assembled at a rough terrain sand dune near Tel Aviv for a machismo display of machinery and stubborn persistence as they attempt to plow their way through the steep, scenic overlook into the wee hours of the evening.
Time for Radio Exercise (Daisuke Nose)
Another curious, slice-of-life video entry that stretches too far past the point of novelty and into the realm of tedium, Time for Radio Exercise captures a group of older Japanese assembled at a park performing their morning exercise routines through broadcasted physical instructions that resemble elementary school drills.
Dad (Stephen Dwoskin)
Dark, ominous, and brooding (in a soundtrack that sounds tonally similar to the Richard Wagner opera, Lohengrin), Dwoskin poetic elegy juxtaposes home videos of his father during various stages of his adult life in slow motion that contrasts his youthful vitality with his increasing frailty shortly before his death. Although clearly heartfelt and sincere, the film is perhaps too indulgent in its almost monotonic, recurring sense of foreboding that the images seem to become more abstract and antithetically depersonalized.
Swf, 29, seeks self (Gretchen Skogerson)
Assembled from the assorted voicemail received by filmmaker Skogerson in response to a newspaper advertisement that enigmatically reads “SWF, 29, seeks self” juxtaposed against stock footage of animal mating rituals and physics demonstrations of magnetic poles, the film is a well crafted and humorous piece on the cultivation of interpersonal relationships.
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