The third shorts program at the Florida Film Festival this year is entitled "Vicious." (The names of all four short collections reference song titles of the great and recently departed Lou Reed. Any meaning other than the reference is tenuously ambiguous but is up to interpretation.) Of all the collections of short films I've seen this week this is probably the strongest and most varied.
Delicious Ambiguity is a story of unrequited love at a dinner party. The dialogue starts off a little clunky but really improves once dinner starts, and even though it has some student film moments it entertains and finishes strong.
Keep a Tidy Soul is strange in a delightful way, with a young woman (Claire McConnell) trying to find herself with the help of a French speaking koala teddy bear. Shot in black and white, this is the kind of art film I like because it doesn't take itself too seriously and has a wicked sense of humor.
In The Lipstick Stain, a young girl is ripped away from the life she knows and is forced to live with her estranged father and very weird family. There's a lot of ambiguity here, but it ends up being too much; I felt like I didn't know nearly enough about the girl. It's a tribute to the filmmakers that I wasn't bored, but the film just didn't reveal enough.
As they lie together, a young woman confesses to her lover that her feelings for him have changed. The punchline that he doesn't understand Portuguese and missed everything she said is a nice bit of dramatic irony, and Oi, Meu Amor is effective in that it isn't overlong and tells its story efficiently.
First Prize felt like an attempt at a Wes Anderson movie, and it works for the most part. An outcast child brings a live dinosaur to the science fair and proves his worth to his peers. Cute story and the animatronics are actually pretty good.
I'm not going to go into much detail about Aftermath (due to an emergency I missed the first five minutes) other than to say that it seems to be take place in a post-apocalyptic world and had some real tension and beautifully stark winter imagery.
In I Love You So Much, two lovers cuddle together in a fort made of blankets and try to one up each other on how deep their feelings for the other are. Their declarations are supplemented by crude animation that only makes their outrageous statements even funnier. This is one of my favorite shorts from the fest.
A Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator answers a Craigslist add and visits a shut-in and her terminally ill son in Rat Pack Rat, which is well made but is also deeply disturbing. I won't question the intentions of the filmmakers but it left me with such an unpleasant feeling that I can't recommend it.