For its collection of international shorts this year the Florida Film Festival is presenting a wide range of films from a number of different countries including the United Kingdom, Cananda, Norway, Spain, France, Japan, India, Iran and Australia. In general this is a strong group of shorts and includes several of the best I've seen at the festival, and I highly recommend checking them out if possible.
In The Parachutist, a German pilot is shot down during World War II and parachutes into modern day England. He makes his way back to Germany in search of the girl he left behind. The concept is very original but it does drag a little bit toward the end.
Requiem for a Robot is another high concept piece, with a cardboard and foil robot that exhibits the traits of a messed up twenty-something. The downer ending was surprisingly shocking, but the film suffers from some really horrendous acting on the part of the human costars.
A young man and woman go on a mountain climbing trip in The Fall, and what starts out innocently enough evolves into a tense thriller that reminded me of some of the best of Hitchcock with a fantastic (anti)climax. For anyone with a fear of heights this one will be almost unbearable.
Inertial Love is a kinetic experimental film that works as a visually exciting dose of eye candy and is also a metaphor for romantic relationships that ignores love's nuances but is still very clever. It ends just shy of becoming irritating.
More Than Two Hours is the most serious of the shorts in this collection: a young man and woman wander an Iranian city looking for a hospital to admit the young woman and are constantly stymied by the country's religious laws. The story is powerful and the leads do fine work, but the pacing is glacial.
In B-Class Cultural Heritage a kid on a skateboard steps on the wrong manhole and is subjected to constant attack by robotic weaponry as punishment. It pokes a lot of fun at draconian laws and Japanese gameshows, and while the effects and chase scene atmosphere are exciting for a bit, the short goes on about three minutes longer than it should.
Uproot is another serious film, in which a working mother in Mumbai suspects that her nanny is using her young son as a prop to make money begging on the street. It functions as both social commentary and a thriller as the mother is constantly dismissed by her husband for being paranoid. The ending feels unfair but is satisfying in the context of the story.
Cargo is yet another zombie film, but like The Cyclist it's a lot more satisfying than it has any business being. During a zombie apocalypse a dying man tries to protect his infant daughter. His solution is brilliant and heartbreaking.
Memorable Moi is a French-Canadian film with another clever conceit: a man will literally disappear if someone somewhere is not thinking of him at all times. The lengths to which the man goes to be remembered are ludicrous, obscene, disgusting, and very funny. Not for the squeamish.