Rebels with a Cause

Rebels with a Cause
It's really easy to rile someone up who preaches a cause and it's, occasionally, a lot of fun. Unfortunately, not many of these shorts are quite as entertaining, aside from one where a girl threatens to kill herself if she doesn't get a falafel. But who hasn't done that? On the upside, Andrea Dorfman brings some empowerment to spending time alone, which acutely observes an insecure culture desperately performing for social validation.

Starting things out is "Spare Change," a surrealist animated film that mixes dreams, ideas and all things visually appealing in relation to being an outsider. It's a nice lead into "Surfing the Waste," which is about co-op-living vegan dumpster divers who claim not to preach their agenda and collective superiority to others and then spend the rest of the short musical documentary doing just that. The music is fun and kudos to them for finding a cheap and creative mode of self-sustainment but a more interesting documentary would jump 20 years into their future to see how this all worked out.

"Gisela" is Photoshop animation about Gisela Werner, Germany's first female bank robber, which is perhaps more dynamic in theory than in execution, unlike "Another's Reason," which looks at the welfare system in France. This latter short is a lengthier affair involving Caroline (Chloe Berthier), a young welfare officer who witnesses one of her clients secretly working. It's an intriguing study of morality and that grey area where most things fall into.

Visual poem "How to be Alone" playfully depicts the many pleasures that can be had by yourself in a manner that put a smile on this reviewer's face. A different sort of smile came while watching "Wind Chimes," where a mother struggles with her daughter's mental illness and constant threats of suicide.

The final short, "Tenner," is deceptive and clever, opening with a random youthful attack on a convenience store and revealing an unassuming context. Some of the foreshadowing is a little ham-fisted but the short is strong overall.<