From an out-of-work crabber to a widowed Iraqi father trying to escape his duty to avenge his wife’s death, the protagonists of DC Shorts’ Showcase 5 are trying to flee from something. Some are looking for a more literal escape (the flight attendants with something to hide of Love Me Anyway) while others, like the clumsy, recently laid star of Eighty-Sixed, are just trying to get beyond their reputations. The prospects for those escapes are grim, but at least the homeless man at the center of of The Road Home gets a warm meal in the end.
Dim Sum: Hollywood eats its young, but an aging starlet looking to beat that system with magical dumplings finds herself back where she started.
Love Me Anyway: This recruitment video for the joyless, sexy life awaiting flight attendants would be more biting if Pan Am had gotten a second season.
The Road Home: This animated short from the StoryCorps project follows a privileged, alcoholic teen’s decline into homelessness. It’s as cozy as the New Year’s party where he finds himself after being rescued from the streets.
Refuge: An Iraqi refugee fleeing his wife’s violent death finds himself faced with a choice when he meets her killer on the street.
Ol’ Bay (pictured above): The ridiculous subjects of mockumentaries need to be balanced out by deadpan performances, but that memo didn’t reach the excitable cast of Ol’ Bay. This uneven mockumentary stars an out-of-work crab fisherman who uses his crustacean know-how to become a yoga teacher, enthralling unhappy yuppies along the way.
System Preferences: Director Anya Belkina’s animated feature about her grandfather’s struggle to build computers in the Soviet Union has a unique style. At a whopping 17 minutes, though, it soon starts feeling like reading a not-particularly-interesting Wikipedia article.
Eighty-Sixed: If a comedy set less than 30 years ago can be called a period piece, Eighty-Sixed is it. With hoop earrings and Oingo Boingo, the ’80s are laid on thick when morning-after awkwardness collides with national tragedy.
Honk if You Love Someone: Something drives Massoud Adibpour to greet D.C. commuters with his cheerful signs, including the one that gives this doc its name. The film, though, doesn’t delve deeper than his Tumblr-friendly message.
Pro Kopf (The Maid): This one-room German thriller about a conversation between a cuckold and his maid is suitably chilly, even if the final twist strains belief.
Not reviewed from this showcase: Curiously and Only Fair, for which advance screeners were not available.
Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at E Street Cinema Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. at E Street Cinema Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial