When Showcase 10 is on its game, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. When it’s not… well, there’s always that grocery list to think about. Sex, cursing, and terrorism are the topics of the top contenders, with tones from lighthearted to horrific
House PartyDirected by John McCain
This slip of a short follows a guy named Peter, who’s getting baked in his dark apartment when a friend invites him to a party. He’s troubled but won’t open up to anyone, just like a teary girl he hooks up with won’t open up to him. The result is a shrug.
Modern RomanceDirected by Ian D’amelia
This charming short features a hologram version of Chatroulette. After a young and apparently successful man ends a 3D conversation with mom—who naturally asks when he’s going to meet a nice girl—he takes the dating app for a spin. The lesson: You gotta kiss a lot of frogs, etc.
DepartureDirected by Shin Sonoda
Besides a laughable twist, Departure is a melancholic story about lives taken and lives given up. A man is placing flowers on a sidewalk to remember someone when a teenage girl attempts to kill herself nearby. A tad too coincidental? Yes. But its themes are too aching to write off.
Curse WordsDirected by Paul Rodriguez
Perhaps the ultimate short: One minute long, consisting of a setup and a punchline. Bam.
The Importance of Sex EducationDirected by L. Elizabeth Powers
This comedy strains slightly by deriving its humor from mistaken thoughts that could clear up a mess yet remain infuriatingly unsaid. A mother gives her 12-year-old daughter a book about where babies come from that’s apparently meant for babies, thus the girl needs to extrapolate regarding the key step to getting pregnant. A few dangers: Short skirts, rock ‘n’ roll, sharing beverages. Just say you swapped spit already!
They Charge for the SunDirected by Terence Nance
Another short that could do with a few more details to clarify its story. It’s Brooklyn in the near future, and an adult woman is caring for her grade-school sister. There’s some issue with the sun—good luck guessing what without reading the synopsis—but residents are able to pay a tidy sum to spend some time in a park that’s apparently protected. An ignored alarm proves something, but what?
Watu Wote (All of Us)Directed by Katja Benrath
Watu Wote is based on a true story about a Kenyan bus carrying mostly Muslims and a Christian woman. They’re attacked by Al-Shabaab terrorists after their police escort broke down, and how they handle this unthinkably routine act is an encouraging indication that solidarity isn’t completely dead. Powerful and gripping.
Showcase 10 screens Monday, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.