Official Selection: Someone to Watch over Me

Official Selection: Someone to Watch over Me
Tied together by an overriding concept of protection and authority, whether it's familial, virtual or even illegal, this grouping of shorts covers a variety of styles and tones, most consistently settling on thought-provoking and/or creepy.

Starting it out is the 8-bit animation of Bradley Manning Had Secrets, which provides a loose, artistic pixel rendering of the transcripts of wikileaks hacktivist (a vile neologism if ever there was one) Bradley Manning and a confused soldier, where a gender identity crisis leads to a military information leak. This brief, but compelling diversion sets the stage for longer live action short The Factory, where a mother visits her son in prison, squats over a mirror naked and does something provocative and gross with a condom-covered cell phone.

Less narrative is the Super 8 footage of director Kelly O'Brien's daughter Emma in Six, where she discusses her child's unknowingly prescient hesitation to age from her current state. The profundity comes from just how much her youthful nod to personal present fulfillment speaks to the many adults that would give anything to step back in time and enjoy childhood again.

Joy is decidedly less optimistic, featuring a young mother gossiping with a friend in a hospital with her newborn nearby. Here, the power comes from the unforgettable final image, which is fortunately remedied in part by comic short Elephant Feet, which features an American working overnight at a Dutch gas station, only to wind up shooing the homeless and accidentally lighting someone on fire.

The most forgettable short of the bunch is The Meaning of Style, wherein left-wing skinheads in Panang sit around with butterflies on them. It's as exciting as it sounds.

More compelling is longer short My Sweetheart. In it, a woman helps her mentally handicapped sister lose her virginity, assisting with condom application and remedying disagreements over flower arrangements. The politics are smartly left aside, other than the adamant stress that a condom be used for the consummation of such a specific love.

The last short in the program, Deafblind, is easily the most disturbing, featuring a woman that is both deaf and blind struggling to date other disabled people while a silent house squatter watches out for her and sabotages discomforting dates.