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Aria for a CowA milk cow and her bulls get musical revenge on a careless farmer in an animated short that looks like Pixar but evokes classic Disney fare. That’s largely thanks to a previously unreleased song by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) that teaches a lesson that’s humane, if not exactly vegan.
Cry of the FoxWriter-director-animators Jason Ronzani and Ning Xu mix claymation and traditional pens-and-papers to bring this touching tale to life. A young nature lover buries one fox and befriends another while fighting back against poaching bullies, a battle that parallels the contrasts between the innocence of the animation style, the sweeping score, and the violence of men in nature.
Out of the BagThis documentary follows three women who reuse and recycle plastic bags into arts, crafts, and activism, finding beauty in an everyday product that is packed with a larger-than-life environmental impact. Of the three, Lena Wolek—a Siberian-born, L.A.-based artist who balances humor with humanity in her creations—is the most compelling.
The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister BellamySet in 1964 during the integration of Louisiana’s job market, this heartstring tugger follows a destitute scavenger’s journey towards employment and proves that “the suit doesn’t make the man, the man makes the suit.” If Stan Brown’s nearly-mute performance as the titular protagonist doesn’t start the waterworks, Bence Kutrik’s orchestral score will help you along.
Breaker BreakerThere’s something off about Adam (Pat Healy, The Innkeepers, Compliance) in Travis Bogosian’s Breaker Breaker. Is he just an earnest sheriff on a new beat? A loner desperately seeking a human connection? Or something more sinister? This one slowly reveals itself and plays off of our mistrust of the police and of awkward strangers (and nailed the song selection with that Mystikal track).
LecheNina (Ava Clarke Edney, in her film debut) is a wide-eyed nine-year-old with the blonde hair and fair skin of albinism. This Spanglish short—with beautiful, sunbleached cinematography—views issues of race, privilege, and colorism through playground politics, as Nina navigates bullying and nightmares about the hunting of an albino deer.
Red FolderThis short tracks Joseph (Gregory Barnes) as he navigates his school for the titular MacGuffin, a fool’s errand that exposes how students are passed around broken schools and eventually fall through the cracks. Writer-director Ben Kallam, a former Teach for America corps member, delivers a powerful metaphor in a short that is reminiscent of Half Nelson and the brutal fourth season of The Wire in tone and style.
SeideThe titular character is a young woman who lives in a Kyrgyzstani village where snow covers not just vast wilderness but also a culture of arranged marriages and dowries where women have the same value to society as livestock. With her beloved horses set to be killed for food at her own wedding, Seide tries to save at least one of them from ancient custom. Director Elnura Osmonalieva captures beauty both environmental and equine with striking wide shots.
Showcase 9 screens Monday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.