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Many of the shorts in this eclectic and worthwhile collection are portraits of the peculiar side of life. They range from conventional documentaries to animation, but the theme across the board is the desire to connect, be it through friendship, art, family dynamics, or in defiance of death and the passage of time. All of the people in these stories relate to one another in ways outside the norm.
Connected: On the surface, Connected is a simple film, employing uncomplicated techniques to tell a story about one man’s misguided attempt to befriend a sales clerk. Yet actors Kevin Eldin and Miles Jupp lend complexity and humor to the script, and make this a touching character study about loneliness and the odd behavior it can inspire.
Nonna Si Deve Asciugare: Legacy and respect are the themes of this quirky Italian film. The title translates to Grandma Must Get Dry. As the late matriarch’s will causes her children to descend into arguments and accusations, others seek to protect her wishes in a manner that is surprising and satisfying.
Cadaver: Told through animation and rhyming couplets, this odd love story is one of the high points in the showcase.
Baffle Their Minds With Bullsh*t, Kerry Leigh: With her father’s advice in mind, Kerry Leigh works as a writer-for-hire on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. This documentary reveals a slice of the creative life of a street performer whose writing is as memorable as her personality.
Obake: Another of the showcase’s strongest offerings, Obake, which translates roughly from the Japanese as “ghosts,” is a poetic tale of love, both familial and romantic, that transcends the boundaries of time.
Look to the Cookie: This straight-up documentary is a portrait of Glaser’s Bake Shop—-the possible progenitor of the black-and-white cookie that inspired the classic Seinfeld episode referenced in the film’s title. The Glaser brothers hold down the fort at the business that’s been in the family since 1902. The film follows Herb Glaser as he bakes in the mouthwatering tradition he learned from his father.
Abuelas: Using a mix of animation, live action, and narration, Abuelas tells the heart-wrenching story of four grandmothers on a quest to find the grandchildren who were seized during Jorge Rafael Videla’s military regime in Argentina.
Drowned: The less nuanced of the two portraits of loneliness in this showcase, Drowned is an amusing take on one woman’s desperate attempts to attract romantic attention.
High Maintenance: In this entertaining blend of ridiculous scenarios and dry humor, Herb discovers how hard it is to knock up his wife with her mother staying in the house. The comic timing of Raymond Bokhour, Geneva Carr, and the fabulous Marylouise Burke make this nonsense well worth watching.
Thursday, Sept. 6 at 9 p.m. at US Navy Memorial
Sunday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at E Street Cinema
Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at E Street Cinema