Official Selection: Iron Ladies

BY Robert BellPublished Jun 7, 2012

As implied by the title, this collection of shorts features female protagonists and implicitly female narratives either denying catharsis or offering up less traditional perspectives on the world. Uneven in quality and tone, the handful of decent titles in this program is mostly overshadowed by the mediocrity and unspectacular nature of the rest.

For example, modern dance fable Exode demonstrates an aptitude for filmmaking technicalities ― in particular, editing ― by mixing together a dance practice with a tumultuous love triangle. It's just unfortunate that the actual story is superficial at best and results in a melodramatic shouting match.

Similarly unremarkable is stop-motion musical short Little Plastic Figure, which shows a woman sleepwalking in and out of danger while a small toy protects her from various potential injuries. While the action stylization and art direction are intriguing to the eye, the entire thing breaks down when superficial analysis comes into play.

Fortunately, the far more compelling experimental short, What a Young Girl Should Not Know, follows a carefree female child through an open field while animated (stop-motion, mostly) inserts highlight the many worldly disappointments that will follow in her future life.

Also intriguing is the Andrea Dorfman short, Big Mouth, where the awkward nature of nascent childhood socialization is scrutinized from the perspective of a child that may (or may not) have Asperger's. Playful animation and an upbeat score make for a pleasant experience.

Also included with the program is the overly protracted documentary short, Unravel, which features Indian workers talking about how goofy American clothes are while they recycle the thread and materials of factory rejects

Less forgettable, although arguably not as focused, is teen lesbian drama Snow Canon, which features an abundance of Internet slang and a young girl's seduction of her older American babysitter. It involves dress-up, a hot tub and animal abuse.

One of the longer shorts in the program is the Swedish film Girl, wherein an older girl parties with a group of younger boys. As the drugs and booze compound, so does our sense of dread, but director Fijona Jonuzi is more interested in dynamics than shock, fortunately.

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