Spotlight on Poland 2

Spotlight on Poland 2
While not exactly bursting with joie-de-vivre, the second instalment of Polish imports is significantly lighter in tone than the first batch, which, in its own right, was quite impressive, but these have a little more humour to them. Sure, there are still car bombs, creepy Freudian complexes and a man that fetishizes inanimate objects, but at least there's a sense of humour about it.

Starting things out is the darkly comic and highly entertaining A Story of a Missing Car, which shows a decidedly idiosyncratic family grappling with their son's dream of opening a garage to escape from his janitorial work. Random explosions and unexpected phone sex from 911 operators are just a few of the bizarre happenings that keep this one compelling from beginning to end.

A Woman Sought details a French gallery owner's attempts to find the Polish woman of his dreams via professional matchmakers. Interviews with the women show a variety of personalities and reactions, all culminating in his inevitable decision on the subject. What's funny is his specificity in what he is looking for, since, in reality, he should really just be happy to find a woman that won't roll her eyes and laugh when he lights up a cigar and starts talking about art.

Sticking with documentary shorts, the next film, Till it Hurts, follows a man of roughly 50 that is living with his overbearing, overprotective mother, who can't deal with his having a girlfriend. Considering that he's a psychiatrist, and fully versed on psychosexual development, the irony stays on the surface, entering conversations, making for some very awkward viewing.

More lyrical and metaphysical in nature is Universal Spring, which shows a series of people disconnected, picking up dry cleaning, explicitly fornicating or finding dead birds in their apartment, only to find an eventual stillness in connection. Exceptional pacing and quiet observation make this moving portrait of existential angst one to see.

And lastly, Zietek returns to the Worldwide Short Film Festival, detailing a man's obsession with carving sexy female figurines out of wood.