Lunafest

Lunafest
What distinguishes this collection of shorts from the rest is their female-centric subject matter, featuring all female protagonists and directors, making shorts that range from outstanding to crappy, just like any other program with mixed gender themes. Although, unlike other groupings, which tend to end with the standout short, this one starts out strong and ultimately peters out by the end.

Giving the program a halo effect, Summer Rain tells the story of a young Israeli immigrant learning to adapt to American life despite not speaking English. Relying on the letters sent from friends back home, we see the world through her eyes, capturing the minutia of childhood, with gimp bracelets and awkward bonding, along with the feeling of isolation during a time of identity construction.

Plastic also proves strong, showing a woman getting ready for a date with an old friend, feeling insecure about the weight she's gained and the zit on her nose. When she learns that she can manipulate her features like clay, visual comedy leads to some lessons about self-confidence. Highly enjoyable.

Less enjoyable is Roz (and Joshua), which is a brief doc about a homeless ex-convict trying to re-establish herself in society in order to get back in touch with her son, while Courteney Cox's The Monday After Thanksgiving returns to the festival to teach us again how a woman can be a woman without a man. I believe it was sponsored by Dove and aired on the Lifetime network, which should give an indication as to the quality and style.

DIY: Emancipation 101 shows bikes and women, or something. It's only a minute. It's fine, as is The Kinda Sutra, a short doc that features adults and children talking about where they first thought babies came from. A man discusses his fear of defecating in case a baby came out and drowned. I can't say I shared this particular anxiety as a child, but it doesn't lessen its amusement.

Vida Politica makes the observation about body type and beauty constructs as a mere consensus of social normalization and arbitrary conformity, which gives something to think about, while the dreadfully executed Anjali drones on about a young girl coming to terms with her father's infidelity. Indeed, dear, given the opportunity, all men cheat.

Tackling the issue of inflation in Bulgaria, Omelette is brief, but amusing, with its aggressive, logical conclusion, leaving only The McCombie Way to round out the program, seemingly featuring words of wisdom from a woman that doesn't seem particularly wise.