SHORTS PROGRAM II: Circles Goin’ Round

What goes around comes around. Come full circle. Karma. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. A person’s actions, whether good or bad, will have consequences for that person. Actions create an entire cycle of cause and effect.

In case you missed it, I think the theme of this set of films is circles. It seems in every one of these there is clean cause and effects happening. And guys’ dicks. And the getting, or not, of some. Come full circle indeed.

I’m from the Greater Los Angeles area (Long Beach, yo) and I grew up with gun violence. From gangs on campus in elementary school to drive-bys at high school football games, I knew the duck and cover drill. So I found it interesting (okay I laughed, gotta admit) that local street language had to be subtitled in 14085 (13 min). But if it helps the audience get the message, then I’m for it. And the message is a universal film and street truth: show a gun, use a gun. Point taken.

EXCLUSIVE (13 min.) is a behind-the-scenes documentary style report of a guy who saves a woman in Hell’s Kitchen. No, this guy isn’t Daredevil. He’s just a guy. With a sledgehammer. He tells the cute female reporter he’s been “going in circles” in his life lately—and you will find out why.

At first, you might think you are watching a clip from GODS AND MONSTERS where James Whale has an ill-fated crush on the super handsome gardener. While the beginning is similar in SLANT (14 min.), it curves deliciously to reveal a deeper, more compassionate story about older love, finding it, and moving on. I cried in this one. Very nicely done.

FATAKARA (19 min.) is part Indian myth and part coming full circle in a marriage. A mother and her son come to the US to be with her husband. When his son locks himself in the car and his wife locks him out of the apartment, he gains wisdom in his son’s favorite story of Shiva bringing everyone together again. It’s a colorful allegory for remembering our own personal legends.

It’s really pretty easy to sum up FLAGPOLE (22 min.): Thirteen year-old boy. But to elaborate: Dicks. Chicks. Boners. Awkward teens. Teen angst. Our hero’s poetic stylings offer us insight into the cyclone that is a pre-teen’s brain (hint: it isn’t in his skull) and salami-esque nipples.

BARS AND TONE (6 min.) is a funny little joke that sorts out in the end when their incompetence saves the Japanese soap commercial they were meaning to film in the first place.

And finally, UNA CARRERITA, DOCTOR (10 min.). If this group wasn’t spirally enough, this film spins for them all. It’s an impactful statement for the US when a Peruvian physician must work two jobs: one as a doctor in a Lima hospital and the other as a local cab driver. Literally it is “turn around is fair play.” This piece is a swift jaunt through a very fast circle of life that left me wanting to see it as a whole feature.

Our lives revolve in spheres, the same as the Earth around the sun. Have fun connecting the dots in these short films.

SHORTS PROGRAM II screens at the Santa Fe Film Festival Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 10:45a.m. at the CCA.