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Short films would seem to offer endless possibilities—they don’t have to pay any heed to established feature-film genres, after all—yet have an unfortunate tendency to follow a mere handful of precedents. Thus a significant number of the entries in this program, selected from the 2005 Clermont-Ferrand and Oberhausen short-film festivals, match decayed pictures to wistful reminiscences: Mattias Muller’s Album uses travel imagery, ambient sounds, dreamlike text fragments, and a snippet of Ozu’s Equinox Flower to conjure memory and loss; Maria Mohr’s Cousin Cousine (pictured) exploits much the same vibe to tell a more specific story, recalling a childhood make-believe romance between two cousins. Equally impressionistic, but ultimately much more gripping, is Laura Waddington’s Border, a jerky, low-def account of the plight of immigrants desperately trying to traverse the Channel Tunnel from France’s Sangette refugee camp to the more generous asylum policies of Britain. There’s also some more playful stuff, notably The Crab Revolution, an animated parable of depressed crustaceans who can move only in one direction, and the swirling Obras, a nonstop depiction of the cycle of urban demolition and destruction. And then there’s the eerie, Brothers Quay–like Allerleirauh, in which a cross of nails materializes on a bed and a woman breast-feeds a doe to the accompaniment of Goldfrapp’s “Felt Mountain”—you know, the usual short-film stuff. The screenings will be accompanied by a panel discussion, featuring Silverdocs director Patricia Finneran and transatlantic-telephone commentary from some of the filmmakers, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Goethe Forum, 812 7th St. NW. $10. (202) 289-1200. (Mark Jenkins)