Official Selection: All Tomorrow's Parties

BY Robert BellPublished Jun 5, 2012

Rarely is a film made about the partying lifestyle that suggests it's anything but hollow and fleeting. Rather, it's depicted as a form of insincere validation for the insecure and superficial, drawing parallels between the inability to connect on a personal level and the need to accumulate hordes of interchangeable acquaintances. This grouping of films doesn't eschew this notion in any capacity, instead taking it to an even seedier level.

The first offering, Love, tackles the exciting topic of having unprotected sex during a one-night stand. Instead of waxing sanctimonious about STDs, they focus on the whole baby thing, showing sperm animation and a bizarre dead German. The moral: use a condom or wake up with a pasty, ugly grown man to look after for the rest of your life.

Less appealing is the kooky senior citizen doc Eighty Eight, wherein the partying lifestyle of an elderly man in Cornwall is quietly juxtaposed with his intense loneliness. This European entry mixes well with the disturbingly animated Pub, which exaggerates and distorts human features and characteristics as more pints are poured. Get it? Alcohol is bad (but good as a social lubricant).

Going back to the topic of anonymous sex, Four Doves on the Aerial finds four female companions (like a less vulgar Sex in the City quartet) ordering men in for sex ― "how many do you want tonight? ― rather than wasting time getting dressed up and going through the motions. Their apathy speaks to the crude nature of the urban scene, but their interview techniques for potential sexual partners are quite amusing.

Looking at younger women not quite as world-wearied by the hordes of posturing dilettantes that make up urban centers, Good Night finds two underage girls trying their hand at make-up and clubbing, only to have as much trouble removing tampons as they do getting a ride home from a horny older guy. This short smartly mixes cold adult realities with youthful concerns and the terrifying role that young women are socialized to play in culture.

Less intelligent and more obnoxious is Spanish short They Stay for Dinner, which goes for early Almodóvar chaos with a photographer/drug dealer hosting unexpected guests, but winds up more like crappy American, independent, queer cinema.

Fortunately, there's the brief and amusing Second City short, What if Famous People Weren't Famous: Prince, which posits the titular question by making Prince an air conditioner repairman.

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