Published Jun 16, 2009While not quite as strong of a collection as the first part of the Belgian Spotlight, this grouping of shorts is certainly nothing to scoff at, with a unique coming out tale juxtaposed with children's animation about swimming, and a touching story about a quiet do-gooder. It even starts out playfully enough, with an animated short about a rogue musical note called "Rebel."
This quirky diversion leads into the more serious "A Life That Fits In," wherein a recently divorced mother takes her two sons to IKEA to buy them furniture for their new rooms, which she discovers they may not necessarily want. If nothing else, we learn that IKEAs are everywhere and they all look the same.
"Revolution" is tonally similar to Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon's Rumba, with order and routine positioned as idiosyncratic and cartoon-ish, especially when faced with unexpected change. As far as short films about newly discovered homosexuality in heterosexual marriages go, this is the cat's meow. The aberrance here works in the favour of "Minitrip," which features an Albanian bowling team that's lost and shuffled around in Brussels.
The animated "Swimming Lesson" is told from the perspective of a child receiving his first lesson at a public pool and is cute and all but seems like the sort of thing that would be seen between Bollywood musicals on OMNI. "FAL," on the other hand, would not likely find its way to OMNI, acting as a tense thriller and social critique of arms dealers. When a man shows up on a porch unexpectedly offering a free new car to a snooty mother and son, we know that nothing good can come of it.
Lastly, we have the Academy Award nominated "Tanghi Argentini," where a cubicle monkey asks a Tango-dancing co-worker for lessons when he meets a woman on the internet. It all seems like a straightforward love story at first, until we learn the heart-warming secret of Christmas spirit. The shocker here is that it's not even that nauseating.