Sci-Fi: Out There

Sci-Fi: Out There
Tucked between the mediocre 88:88, which wastes a decent build-up of paranoid tension on typical alien abduction flood light effects, and the funny but slight Tumult, which pits ancient warrior Celts against a modern day tour bus, resulting in a gory misunderstanding, there are number of moderately clever and poignant offering among this year's sometimes loosely science fiction-related shorts.

Sedare displays some visual acumen in its positioning of a zombie plague as an AIDS allegory. An Indian journalist gets in over his head after conducting an interview with a drug company whistle blower who claims a cure is deliberately being withheld because treatment is more profitable.

Far less ideologically aggressive is Out of Erasers, shot in '50s-style black & white, in which a young woman touches a substance that begins spreading all over her body and, eventually, the city. Only erasers can harmlessly remove the encroaching scribbles. It's a fun way to depict the past running from the future.

More tenuously connected to science fiction is Codes of Honor. The director discusses the way his experiences were shaped by arcade game culture and how digital competition is the way a whole generation measures the spirit of honour in combat, having never lived through an age where war was on the doorstep.

Pioneer is the emotional centrepiece of this collection. Musician and bearer of impressive moustache Will Oldham plays a father telling his obviously not biological son a bedtime story of how he met the boy's mother. It's a pretty harsh tale to tell a kid to put him to sleep, with lots of scalping, disfigurement and kidnapping involved, but ultimately it's a heart-warming parable about holding on to life as long as you have purpose.

Whether he's telling the truth or not about searching for his son for a hundred years and not aging isn't the point.