The Mamas & The Papas

The Mamas & The Papas
It seems that when people think of family, they immediately think of dysfunction, loss, disappointment and memories of better times, at least according to this grouping of short films. While probably most notable for the inclusion of a short Feist and Cillian Murphy, it's animation with car accidents and dead cats that proves most enjoyable.

This block opens with "What's Fufu?," which is one of those personal narration animated films about feeling disconnected from one's heritage when raised in a different culture. It's political, important and dull. "The Happiness," however, is a bit more touching, with a father and son sharing a seemingly insignificant car trip that reveals a complex relationship and meaning in the small moments. Sticking with the theme of father and son is "The Water," where the duo (David Fox, Cillian Murphy) bring their painful past to the forefront, quite literally.

Stop-motion short "Intimate Game" is more venomous, taking a look at cyclic behaviour and the dangers of overexerting authority, while "Between," an abundantly stylized German short, examines seedy underbellies with perfunctory film student panache.

Longer dramatic shorts in the form of "Land of Men" and "Three Mothers" are dramatically above average, with the former examining the influence of past on present for a police officer who arrests a Mexican illegal and the latter looking at the love and frustration present in three generations of women.

"Careful With That Powertool" is little more than a flinch-worthy parable of Darwinism and the need to hide power tools when children are about, while "The Surprise Demise of Francis Cooper's Mother" is the animated short that stands out. In it, a woman accidentally kills someone with her car, a man accidentally kills his cat and another man overanalyzes the death of his mother. It's clever, insightful and amusing all at once.