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DC Shorts’ Showcase 16 starts sweet, gets zany, and ends horrific. Romantics out there might want to skip out before the female genital mutilation and the date-rape drug deployment. Those interested in a visceral emotional punch might want to do the reverse.

0507: The moral of this wee British comedy: Don’t snoop on your partner’s iPhone. Just don’t. It’s that easy.

Arranged Marriage: What’s more excruciating than a first date? A first date between highly educated people who are nonetheless being obliged to interview one another ahead of an arranged marriage. Suffer along in this sharp Indian short.

Cataplexy: It’s just your standard call-girl-who-turns-out-to-be-a-friend-from-high-school story. With an oddball medical condition in it, too! And yet the end is immensely touching.

Escape of the Gingerbread Man: Can a bearded old storyteller—fueled  by ginger beers and Celtic music—make the children’s story exciting and scary? Yes! Check out this animated G-man’s semiautomatic-abetted escape across Ireland.

Man with a Bolex Movie Camera: The couple? Sexy! Her proposal that they make a sex tape with his classic movie camera? Sexier! The things our film-geeky leading man wants to do to make a naughy movie with a retro camera? Not so sexy. “Fuck!,” he says. “You’re overexposed!” “But I’m not even naked yet!,” she responds. Indeed.

Perspective: Couple sitting at a restaurant engaged in trite it’s-not-you-it’s-me breakup conversation in the foreground. Zany acts of violence go unnoticed in the background. Hilarity ensues!

Sambatown: A stylishly animated Carnivale romance. Better, and shorter, than The Forbidden Dance.

What to Bring to America: A harrowing fictional narrative about genital cutting in an immigrant community. Grandma, the first generation immigrant, wants to do it. Her daughter, building the American dream, is conflicted. The little girl screams her head off as the terrifying prospect—and the razor blade—loom. So will you.

Workhorse: And no sooner than the last film’s emotional trauma has passed, there’s this horrifying shorty about…rape. Our drugged survivor tries to track down the bad guy, but the denouement, with its own twist, is far from clean.

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