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TIFF09: Short Shorts

A short film is technically considered a film under 60 minutes in length. To me a short film is between two and ten minutes long. Besides two longer form short films (My Toxic Baby and Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands) I’ve only seen a handful of what I consider a short to be. Check out my opinion of them below along with some clips.

The Spine
There are just some things in this world you can’t describe. The Spine falls into that category in a big way. Written and directed by Chris Landreth (who won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2005 for Ryan) the film is downright weird. The animation is great though and weird is not necessarily a bad thing. Part of the Short Cuts Canada 1 Programme.

Vive la rose
Inspired by a traditional Newfoundland song by Émile Benoit, Vive la rose is a sad (yet beautiful) love story told via stop motion and paint animation. Plays with the feature Crackie.

Runaway
From Cordell Barker, the director of the classic animated short The Cat Came Back, comes Runaway; a vibrant, energetic, animated train ride. Set to music by Ben Charest who scored The Triplets of Belleville. Worth more than one viewing if you can. Part of the Short Cuts Canada 3 Programme.

Soap
Sex, death and 80s decor – what’s not to like? Very well made film about an unhappily married woman who has to clean up a mess after her lover slips on a bar of soap in the shower one afternoon. Soap could easily be turned into a feature. Part of the Short Cuts Canada 3 Programme.

Man vs. Minivan
After receiving a minivan as a wedding gift from his soon to be in-laws, Shane (Marc Bendavid of Murdoch Mysteries) starts to have second thoughts on marriage. The use of a minivan as the main set piece, along with some great performances, makes Man vs. Minivan a fun little film. Part of the Short Cuts Canada 3 Programme.

Night Mayor
Guy Maddin is one of the most overrated Canadian filmmakers — he makes pretentious crap that only a handful of people will ever care about. If you enjoyed My Winnipeg, his film that played TIFF last year, you might get something out of Night Mayor. If you’re like me and can’t stand his work, avoid this excruciating experience at all costs. Part of the Short Cuts Canada Programme 2.

brian.mckechnie@citynews.ca

Top image: Still from The Spine. Courtesy TIFF.