Official Selection 11: Not Just From Venus

Official Selection 11: Not Just From Venus
As suggested, this collection of short films features heroines of an alternative variety, going beyond passive objectivity and frequently taking charge of their destiny. While it starts out slowly, with some amateurish and overly pretentious work, the program ends with a couple of excellent titles that linger after the credits roll.

Sometimes I Dream of Reindeer is only three minutes long and fetishizes objects of the male gaze. Resultantly, it's much like watching an abstract dream, with the random amusement of a reindeer. It's definitely pretty. It's also considerably more engaging than Slip, which was funded by some Bravo grant, and you can tell. It's done in a single shot in a female locker room, with ladies of all shapes and sizes doing choreographed dances in swimsuits. This is fine and all, but then there's the chasing of some women around corners, which I'm assuming has something to do with feminine mystery, or whatever. It's a lot of misguided feminist pretence.

At least it's well filmed, unlike Gayby, which is a sloppy rendition of the whole "gay man and fag-hag want a baby" routine. Think Will & Grace, only without Karen to make it funny.

Chloe and Attie pivots on a mystery about a bedridden patient hidden away from the world, bruised and given needles, while the touching and intelligently structured documentary short The Space You Leave tackles the pain of losing a child by interviewing people still mourning years later.

On the animation front, Homeland, a simple black on white animation of a lone woman seeking to please a magical companion, touches on feelings of clinging to the impossible and the inevitability of everything coming to an end. This title, along with the final two entries, stand out amongst these selections.

Polish short Birthday follows an angered lesbian couple after one learns the other has had conventional sex with their sperm donor without first discussing it. Smartly executed and well acted, this story captures the tumultuous nature of a passionate relationship.

And lastly, we have Real, which shows the lengths a mother will go to in order to save her child. After reading a blog online about a miracle drug that cures cancer, a woman forges her way through a world of hackers and internet perverts just to find the author. While deeply moving, what stands out here is the transition of lighting, colours and framing to match that of our heroine's hope.