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Reel Shorts 3

D: Various

You know it's not your day when you wake up in your FEMA trailer to find that your savings have been stolen from your peanut can. When it happens to Macarthur in John Magary's "The Second Line," it signals the beginning of a very bad day indeed, and when Macarthur finds work gutting an old house ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, he also finds the limits of his patience. Whereas the tension in this somber film lies in Macarthur's growing realization that his situation is in fact as bad as he suspects, the tension in the second film, "Closing Night" – about a young actress just cast in her first indie film – lies in its protagonist's ignorance of just how unpromising her prospects really are. "The Stain on the Sidewalk," by L.A. director Andy Schlachter, and "A Catalog of Anticipation," by David Lowery, are this collection's poetic pieces. "Stain," a meditation on unrequited teenage love, finds a sweet balance between lyricism and voice in lines like, "Hey Vanessa, I always see you smiling, you make me smile," and, "Hey Vanessa, you always do your hair good." Meanwhile, "Catalog" combines Claymation and still photography to transform a simple story of a girl who collects bugs and bones into a magical fairy tale with dark, alluring underpinnings. Miguel Alvarez's "Kid" follows a classic coming-of-age arc, telling the story of a young boy who must make a decision about who he is when confronted with an estranged father vascillating between hostile and needy. The film is most notable for its skillful treatment of passivity and aggression in the power struggle between parents and children. "Glory at Sea" is this collection's most ambitious film, a mystical tale set in post-Katrina New Orleans and shot partially on Lake Pontchartrain. With beautiful underwater cinematography, a bewitching cast of oddballs, and one boat built out of a bed, a bathtub, and a piano, "Glory at Sea" imagines how a group of people might reunite with their loved ones lost under the sea after a storm.


"Glory at Sea" won the SXSW Wholphin Award. See story about director Benh Zeitlin on p.56.

Friday, March 14, 2:30pm, Alamo Lamar

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