City Paper is not for tourists
The first film in the Lunafest package— “short films by, for, about women”—is “The Translator,” which begins with its protagonist Penny creating English subtitles for a French drama. She pauses, staring at a screen that reads “FIN.” The phone rings. Minutes later, after Penny has let her boyfriend exit a subway train without her (cue morose gazes) we’re back in her editing room, staring at the “FIN” screen. The phone rings. The 2010-2011 Lunafest collection totals 11 short films, and watching them in succession feels like being stuck in “The Translator”’s infinite loop: In general, the works aren’t riveting enough or strong enough to differentiate themselves. Regardless, two animated shorts do shine. The rapidly moving illustrations of “Thembi’s Diary,” adapted from a journal kept by an African girl diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, are as lush, gorgeous, and powerful as the narrative. “Love on the Line” is a rousing little ditty wherein young Victorian gentlefolk, hidden from view of “father” and “mumsie,” telegraph each other racy notes. The Marconi-era sexting is cleverly illustrated with neon dots; when they shape to reflect what the two lovers are saying (hearts! stars! breasts!), it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Both are gems that deserve to stand alone. Unfortunately, they’re too easily lost in the Lunafest slog.
At 4:15 p.m. at Goethe-Institut.