Human Resources

Human Resources
Loss, loneliness, class systems, difficult decisions, teetering on the edge and an emotional rollercoaster of a day are all explored in the Human Resources segment of shorts. In addition to the surface commonalities involving the nine-to-five humdrum, these short films look more closely at what it is like to be human, collectively delivering feelings of simultaneous disappointment, exhilaration and occasional optimism.

Opening the program with a bang, Bad Day, Good Day, Bad Day shows a brief, beautiful and highly energised look at the emotional zigzagging that people can experience in a single day.

Taking a step back in energy, American entry Single Girl blandly drags through its brief running time, being succeeded by a morbid, but wonderfully shot, German Sophie’s Choice-style film called Summer Sunday, which preaches the wrongs of bringing your deaf son to a dangerous work site.

Lightening up the subject matter a bit is the British short Procrastination, which acutely observes the many ways that we put off doing the things that we need to do. A Fresh Start suggests that it isn’t only work that people procrastinate doing, as holding onto loved ones and phantom limbs can be equally debilitating. The low-rent, Amélie-style direction is both charming and frustrating in its limitations and lack of originality.

Standing out in the Human Resources program is Subservience, a moody, French-Canadian NFB production that manages to be extremely depressing while slyly amusing. In addition to being aesthetically stunning, it shows the dependency and abhorrence the privileged have for the lower class. This short alone is worth checking out the program for.

Of course, no short film program would be complete without the obligatory artistic dance film with Sheena Easton-style dancers jumping off of roofs into a L’Oreal commercial. That would be To Fly or Fall, a nicely shot, if somewhat amusing, artistic statement.

Rounding out the segment is the moving The Answer Key, a short film that touches on the human disconnect surrounding structural analysis in a solution-driven world. The consistent vision, appropriate colour palette and impressive framing foreshadow a bright and healthy career ahead for director Samir Rahem and team.