Girl, Refrigerated


BAM’s “World According to Shorts,” funneled from the French Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, is dominated by two lives: a museum worker’s and a refrigerator’s. Origine de la Tendresse, from France, busts out with a bit of Chaplinesque business: A plain blond in a museum filled with ancient statues pulls off a button and, from curiosity, nibbles it. From there, her life unrolls, a series of great snapshot setups that never quite turn into gags: She listens to a friend’s breakup story over traffic din, gets a chain letter, sweeps her floor, and plays with a rather sculptural dust bunny. This succession of static, windowized shots breaks only when she talks to an old coot on a bench. As she becomes captivated by his story of losing a fingertip, the camera slowly sweeps across from his mouth to her first onscreen smile. Life ticks away, everything registering with equal, wry weight: watching TV, boiling spaghetti, making a flyer. When she infuses fruit into her morning yogurt, it becomes apparent that this movie is combing through acts usually fetishized in commercials. The half-hour Origine milks a nicely exaggerated, unforced visual excess from the everyday.

The aforementioned appliance, star of the Korean film The Refrigerator, is an idol cousin to 2001‘s monolith. An office-pool prize, it appears useless, but a poor family of four soon warms to its charms. The fridge is given a distinct point of view; its eerie glow binds the family even as it cools the kimchi. Somersault, also noteworthy, counterposes a girl’s huffy tumbling in a gym with her mother’s soused, pub-bound splats. This one-sour-note Scottish film climaxes when the overripe lush pisses on a pile of garbage and collapses in front of her daughter’s club-kid clique.