The two standout films in the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour — an eight-film series opening at IFC Center on June 17 — both begin with a tight close-up on a woman lying down in confessional mode.
In Bridey Elliott’s Affections, the woman (Elliott) is young, pretty, and borderline bonkers, babbling stream-of-consciousness childhood memories to an indifferent, off-camera stranger. In Sol Friedman’s documentary Bacon & God’s Wrath, an elderly Jewish lady, who has always kept kosher, expresses her trepidation at trying pork for the first time.
There are other strong works: Nina Gantz’s Edmond, a genuinely disturbing British stop-motion cartoon in which a man fantasizes about — among other things — trying to swallow a woman’s foot and successfully swallowing his twin sibling in the womb; Ben Petrie’s Her Friend Adam, which, while a tad overwrought, conveys both the crippling insecurities of meek men with larger-than-life girlfriends and the frustration these hang-ups cause for those women; and Jim Cummings’s Thunder Road, a wrenching, one-shot portrayal of a mourning man in total meltdown.
But Affections and Bacon make the most creative use of their limited duration. Affections‘ lonely housewife elicits both empathy and repulsion, as her husband’s bland, prudish ways send her into a misbegotten affair with a homeless man (her dream sequence, in which the vagrant is rendered a suave, sexually playful version of her husband, yields the series’ biggest laughs). And in just nine minutes, Bacon manages to fully flesh out a self-confined woman in search of a new thrill. In Friedman’s slyest moment, the interviewer is depicted as a talking pig’s head, and his subject — whose soul-searching via Google spurred her lapse in faith — as a babbling computer.
Sundance Film Festival Shorts
Sundance Film Festival
Opens June 17, IFC Center
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 15, 2016