Commissioned by the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, 10+10 is a short film anthology intended to speak of "the uniqueness of Taiwan" to celebrate the Republic of China's 100-year anniversary. With the title of the short film program being descriptive of its content, it is also a tip of the hat to the country's National Day of October 10, which is also known as "Double Ten Day."
Containing 20 short films, each with a 5-minute allotment, the program features ten renowned directors and ten directorial newcomers that produced results ranging from critiques of politics to those assessing culture, history and pop stars. Like any short film program, there are pieces that stand out, as well as others that prove somewhat less effective.
One of the better pieces is the black and white Bus Odyssey that shows a simple bus-ride commute cut short by an act of violence. Similarly, Reverberation showcases violence by depicting an act of school bullying that spins into eye-for-an-eye retribution.
Comedy makes an appearance in the program by way of The Ritual, which finds two brothers trekking to the top of a hill to pay their respects to a shrine that has helped them win a sum of money. This short hilariously references James Cameron's Avatar, down to the use of 3D glasses for the men and their deities.
Memory is a recurring theme in the program with an elderly man going for a walk and recalling his life's high points in Old Man & Me, while Hippocamp Hair Salon provides an interesting take on erasing bad memories from one's mind, sort of like a less inspired Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A powerful historical glance at Taiwan's fierce military past comes by way of Sparkles as we witness an elderly woman recalling the 1949 Battle of Kuningtou as she visits the site of the battle she once ran through as a child.
Without directly pointing the finger at the films that prove somewhat more confusing than intriguing, 10+10 has a little something for everyone that will entertain, puzzle and bewilder viewers, even though a few of the short films are quite obviously aimed directly at Taiwanese insiders, leaving international viewers in the dark. With the restrictive 5-minute runtimes the stinkers will fortunately come to a quick end while the films that shine will leave you craving more.