Official Selection 5: Pretty Poison

Official Selection 5: Pretty Poison
It's interesting that a collection of shorts about superficial beauty and fake appearances would itself be one of the more flippant and bland assemblages in the festival. There's a bit of abstract art and minor amusement, upping the "what the fuck?" and "that's cute" quotients, but mostly there's amateurish crap.

Things start with a kaleidoscopic art thing called Painted Moon, which is little more than an acid trip for those that want to interpret blow art as more than a child with a straw and some watercolours. This leads into the most entertaining short of the program, A Fable About Beauty, which is recognizably "Winnipeg," care of that dry, offbeat Top of the Food Chain humour and Sarah Constible. With rampant bum-slapping and trophy wives "finding themselves" in the wilderness, this is indeed the only reason to check out this program.

New Education Series — At Home with the Ants seems like it's criticizing the education system, with textbook cut-outs and Science Fair mock-ups. At least, I'm guessing that's the intent; I mean, it's basically cut-outs of ants being squished by rotting meat and severed dog heads floating around while Napoleon rides a camel. Perhaps watching this without first getting stoned was my mistake.

Break a Leg is one of those perception thingies, with a mobster going on about folding or crumpling toilet paper in a diner, while Summer Meat-sserts seems like something I would make over the weekend while bored with friends. A woman creates desserts with meat in them, like meatball cupcakes and corned-beef parfaits. About a year ago, I labelled chocolate-covered sausages "chocolate covered bananas" at a bake sale as a practical joke, so I can relate.

And while these shorts are at least amusing in their peculiarity, Phatwa is five minutes I'll never get back. Dreadfully preachy, but inadvertently ignorant in a way that actually makes the villainous "man" seem preferable, it tells the story of an Iraqi hip-hop wannabe having trouble with airport security. It's discrimination, yo.

Lipsett's Diaries features some dark and intriguing charcoal drawings, and has something with do with Arthur Lipsett's work and mental state, which probably would have meant more if it wasn't tainted by the previous short. It serves Karen Parker is Almost Famous well though, which is impressive, since this is just a poorly shot interview with the actress that did all those "Grey Power" commercials.

Lastly, Pink River does its lesbian Sarajevo shtick with maximum adequacy, but has a political spin, what with a member of the sisterhood marrying a man and getting preggers and all, so it will likely win an award or two.