First International Festival of Short Films
1993 Directed by Various.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 18, 1993
Featuring shorts from Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S., this first outing by the newly-formed Andalusian Pictures Ltd. group is a winner in a much broader scope than its animated forerunners (i.e., Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation, etc.). With short films ranging in tone from perverse to touching, and surreal to... well, just plain bizarre, this Festival covers just about everything and ends up being the best compilation film I've seen in years. Launching into the weirdness from the get-go, McGlashan and Sinclair's The Lounge Bar is a hilarious, disturbing tale of a chance meeting between three people in a New Zealand bar one night. Like a Chinese puzzle box, each character's fate is inextricably linked with that of the person next to him (or her) in ways too strange to mention. With a SFX assist from Peter Jackson (Meet the Feebles, Dead/Alive), The Lounge Bar expertly meshes caustic humor with Monty Python-esque headgear to create that most unlikely of films, the original one. Also on a par with that film's subtle peculiarities is Dean Parisot's black-and-white excursion to a place where “everybody knows your name,” Tom Goes to the Bar. Featuring comic Tom Noonan (who hangs suspended upside down from the ceiling of the bar while discoursing on life, love, and whether or not people might like to buy a sponge in the shape of a human head), this seems like it ought to be the Festival's capstone. That's how wonderfully curious it is. Also noteworthy here are the BBC 4 co-production of The Childeater, a tale of childhood awakening, and Safari Holiday, the story of a young boy on vacation with his rampaging testosterone. To be fair, though, there's not a bad short here -- all nine of these films are way above what you might expect from such a grouping. They all deserve to be seen.