Official Selection: No Place like Home

Official Selection: No Place like Home
Beyond glib idioms like "home is where the heart is," the notion of home as a defining signifier runs quite deep throughout the world, often defined by life stages wherein one gravitates from the parental shield to a home of their own making. This series of shorts delves into various notions of home, whether threatening, confusing or comforting, taking a variety of tones and perspectives on the same subject.

The first short film, Loom, is an impressively animated depiction of a spider feasting on its prey. While somewhat vivid and grotesque, the care in detail and dimensionality make this a wonder to behold. It's slightly more compelling than Polish documentary Invisible Border, wherein class system distinctions are explored with candid interviews from locals on "Gypsy Street."

The Majestic Plastic Bag may be self-righteous environmental propaganda designed to guilt super-keen liberals into getting involved with the whole Pacific Ocean plastic garbage mound, but it's quite amusing leading up to its point. Essentially, they take a wildlife documentary approach to a plastic bag, discussing survival habits and migration with a standard, factual voiceover. This comedic approach is welcome, given the dire nature of Nowhere Elsewhere, which uses a highly stylized visual approach to making a thriller out of a Motel stop.

Canadian stop-motion animated short Choke tackles the notion of home with existential clarity, showing the loose connection of a young adult to their home, boasting disturbing imagery and unique artisanship. Its weightiness is followed up nicely with the similarly heavy, but deceptively light-hearted, Land of the Heroes, wherein two young Iraqi boys play elaborate games of punishment while one is dressed as Spiderman.

Rounding out the program is Canadian animated reality check short Wild Life, where a Brit struggles to farm in rural Alberta, as well as We Will Not Die, which awkwardly tells the story of a soldier surprising his lover with a bottle of wine after fighting in Algeria. It's one of those non-linear, symbolic titles that annoys more than it compels.