Shorts After Dark – a program of carefully selected international short films – returned to the Toronto After Dark Film Festival on Saturday, October 15. In the past, these shorts usually run the gamut of subgenres, as well as the gamut of quality, with the spectrum ranging from brilliance to downright horrendous. This year’s selection was solid. Even in comparison to past showcases, this year’s worst short was still better than former duds that have made the cut.
Here are some of my favourite shorts that were featured in Shorts After Dark:
The Call (DIR. Alban Ravassard)
This French crime thriller with a supernatural twist follows an investigation which stems from a naked woman who washes onto a beach, where she seemingly comes back to life, bites a cop, and attempts to escape before being detained. To give any more detail would do a disservice to Alban Ravassard’s smart work. Subtle hints of Melville also ensue.
Greener Grass (DIR. Paul Briganti)
Greener Grass starts with two young mothers sitting on the bleachers at a kids’ soccer game. They both have noticeable braces. One has a baby which goes unnoticed for too long until the baby is offered as a gift to the other mother. Not only does this not necessarily lead to anything in a linear way, but other such strange things continue to be introduced without rhyme or reason, as the viewers are introduced to the husbands, the other children and a strange person who seems to be observing them.
If David Lynch had a comprehensible sense of humour, he might’ve made Paul Briganti’s Greener Grass – a film that runs an interminable yet far too short fifteen minutes.
Vitamins for Life (DIR. Grier Dill)
Short but sweet and modelled after educational films, Grier Dill’s short explains to children the properties of various fictional vitamins. The voiceover work accompanying various animated explanations create some of the most unexpected laughs at this year’s festival.
Not only were these three films the most enjoyable in the showcase, but they were also a good sampling of the aptitude that can be achieved in Shorts After Dark. Every year, this program seems the most sparsely attended and every year, it is one of the best screenings at Toronto After Dark – if not the best. Take a risk next year and give Shorts After Dark a try.
For more information on the festival, visit the official TAD webpage here.
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