Official Selection: Bromance

Official Selection: Bromance
I'm not a huge fan of neologisms and portmanteaux, especially when they're text-friendly, bubbly, MTV trend terms like "Bromance." But, despite the inadvertently grotesque title of this collection, some of the films within are indeed quite affecting, even if there are the standard, mediocre filler titles wedged in between, rounding things out thematically at the expense of quality.

The first short, Swim, is done in a single shot with voiceover, detailing the grieving process of a filmmaker reflecting on his part on the death of a childhood friend and sexual partner. It's touching enough to set the tone for the collection, which is then followed up with subtly dramatic and melancholic faux-comedy Andy and Zach, wherein an overweight, socially awkward young man comes to terms with the fact that his roommate and best friend is moving out to get married while he struggles to get dates on the internet. It's a surprisingly astute treatise on loneliness without explicitly stating its agenda.

Needle Exchange is a documentary about two recovering addicts that tattoo each other, which is pretty much as compelling as it sounds, much like the Scott Thompson short 52, wherein he complains about the gay aging process for the plethora of 52-year-old homosexuals watching short films.

More breeder-friendly is animation confessional Bike Race, wherein two cyclist buddies create their own "Tour de Force" race and flirt with a comely lass. It's sort of dull and uses some pretentious, abstract form of animation that looks like something an overly alacritous nine-year-old might draw, which is fine because the next short, North Atlantic, which is based upon a true story, is quite impressive, detailing the unlikely bond between an air traffic controller and an adrift pilot.

35 mph is a brief short detailing the bond between two dirt biking buddies who share something far more personal than their machinery, while To All My Friends is a half-hour short film about Danish punks and best friends with a severe power imbalance in their relationship. This latter short is well constructed, acted and executed, but never quite reaches the emotional heights it aspires for.