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.