WORLD SHORTS - 4/5/11 - Stories that seem connected with the thread of grief and loss - Very high production values.

The Wind-Up Life by Yi-Jen Chen, Taiwan

This 2-D/3-D animation short tells the story of a young man who gets bogged down by his busy 9 to 5 existence.  It is hard to tell if he is experiencing a dream while sleeping or getting very lost in thoughts on the subway train (or both).  But whatever, the dreams are quite beautiful and watery.  If I were his psychologist, I would say that he is drowning in a lot of unresolved emotional issues because water represents emotions.  See full short here

Minnet av ett rum (Memories of a Room)
by Bahador Shahidi, Sweden

A very touching short about a boy processing his father's death, told through dreams and flashbacks.  Nice B&W cinematography and great acting.  The film was dedicated to the director's father, which I found especially moving.  Can't find the trailer on line yet.

Breathless by Peter Ireland, Australia

I love Australian film!  This short was also a story of a processing the death of a loved-one.  A mother sits underwater holding her breath in the family swimming pool everyday which alarms her husband and little girl (who looks like Nichole Kidman might have looked as a little girl).  It turns out the mother is trying to get one last chance to connect to her baby who drowned in that pool.  A very spiritual portrayal of grieving.  Beautifully filmed and acted.  See the trailer here.

Pizzangrillo (The Lighthearted Boy) by Marco Gianfreda, Italy

Ettore, a 65-year-old depressed man contemplates suicide by driving his three-wheeler pickup truck into a ditch.  He tries often and on the way, kids in the neighborhood innocently jump in the back for ride.  Finally, Ettore's Grandson, Luca, gets curious and starts asking about his trips and accidentally foil's Ettore's final attempt at suicide and both get steered into a happy outing.  A nicely uplifting story. 

Le Miroir (The Mirror) by Rossignol, France

This French short is about a beautiful actress (Vera) who, after a car accident, goes through facial reconstructive surgery.  She goes to an isolated mansion looking over a cliff to recuperate.  The servants and assistants do their best to keep her from seeing herself in mirrors, but her curiosity gets the best of her.  I liked the mystery of Vera wandering through an old mansion, not knowing what she looks like.  I liked the short but HATED the end.  The film was beautifully shot and there were some really nice special effects including the editing.  See the trailer here.

Happy Bag by Graeme Robertson, Australia

I was taken by surprise many times during this clever short.  It is about a young man and a young woman out on their first date, but they have been kidnapped and are trying to escape.  They both have their hands tied behind their backs and burlap bags over their heads.  Both are bleeding, but they still have time to argue and talk about their date.  Surprise ending as well.  Cleverly written and directed.  This was my favorite short of the group.  But I don't think I will recognize the actors outside of this film, (ha ha).  I would love to see the short again.