Generation Mars

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Short films can be moving, innovative, or even thought-provoking. Most of the films in this showcase had none of those qualities.

FalsifiedDirected by Ashley Tabatabai

This short exists primarily to highlight how so many Spanish children were once separated from their parents. Its transparent attempt to be tragic would be offensive, if it weren’t so ineffective.

Generation MarsDirected by Alexander Turpin

This Norwegian short is about a young woman who won a reality show, and its top prize is a one-way trip to Mars. Shocker: it turns out she has second thoughts about the whole thing. This is a thoughtful dive into alienation, even if nothing about it is provocative.

I’m In HereDirected by Willy Berliner

The best short in this showcase is about a white man who would rather be a pushover than cause a fuss. Its scope is downright Kafkaesque, as is its pitch-black sense of humor. Short films are at their best when their directors do not lose their nerve.

The MillinerDirected by Meagan Cignoli

This is a cloying, godawful short film about the ubiquity of hats. Hats. There is a cute actress selling the whole thing, but her brand would more effective on Instagram.

The Trees of EdenDirected by Dwight Hwang

This is an “animated” short film that amounts to little more than a slideshow. It aspires to be symbolic, even allegorical, and yet none of the imagery reaches the power for which it nakedly strives. At least the stills are well-composed, and might provide inspiration for your next tattoo.

TurningsDirected by Robert Herzog

A machinist makes a split-second decision, leading to personal success and the mutilation of his newfound rival. Sharply composed, this short shows how the machinist never quite feels remorse. Human nature can be like that.

UnknownDirected by Katie Sheridan

This is an affectionate, thoughtless profile of D.C. buskers with noteworthy talent and drive. The filmmakers don’t do the musical group any favors, since the film spends way too much time highlighting the sheer number of positive Facebook comments.

Showcase 6 screens Monday, Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.