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Showcase 2 features old folks and young kids, cartoon violence and the kind that should keep a certain president awake at night. Most successful, perhaps obviously, are the shorts that don’t require a lot of background to understand the message they’re trying to convey. Immediacy has its rewards.
Huni Kuin—The Last GuardiansDirected by Danilo Arenas
There’s a lot of history stuffed into the seven minutes of this short about an indigenous Amazonian people fighting for the right to live life on their terms. Their guardian is Yuxibu, who lives in one of the forest’s trees. How it fits into their struggle isn’t exactly clear; some late text explains the dangers the Huni Kuin are facing, but the film would have been more engrossing if it had showed instead of told. A dramatic, nearly horror-movie-like soundtrack and quick cuts add interest, however.
I Love New YorkDirected by Christian Vogeler
A brash New Yorker, a clueless tourist, and a jazz score enliven this short, which is then topped with a clever and satisfying twist that may make you LOL.
FireplaceDirected by Muhammad Bayazid and Samah Safi Bayazid
This story about a kid sneaking a present from beneath a Christmas tree in Syria and then getting trapped after several airstrikes is true. Here the end-of-film text about how things turned out is helpful, because Fireplace’s close suggests a very different outcome.
Second to NoneDirected by Vincent Gallagher
This claymation short about the world’s oldest man has the fingerprints of Wallace and Gromit all over it, from its crazy contraptions to characters who merely grunt to express themselves. But writer-director Vincent Gallagher isn’t from W&G stock; he’s just a really good imitator. His charming short gets extra points for being dark as well as a little gory, with a lesson to never trust a senior no matter how old they are.
All Skate, Everybody SkateDirected by Nicole Triche
Doris is in her late 70s and wears t-shirts with her name on them. But everyone in Topsail Beach, North Carolina, already knows her. By day, Doris works at the town’s post office. By night, she runs its roller rink, spinning 45s and and gliding past her customers on red wheels. The film lets Doris go off on tangents as she tells her story, but they only add to its old-school charm.
Towards the SunDirected by Monica Santis
The young female protagonist of this 19-minute film rarely speaks, and the people speaking around her aren’t quite enough for the viewer to ascertain exactly what’s going on. We know that the girl is in a shelter, one in which the temporary residents—immigrants, specifically—are educated and counseled before they ideally find a home in the U.S. The girl’s outlet is drawing, but this detail isn’t enough to flesh out the picture the film wants to paint.
Showcase 2 screens Sunday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.