The Manhattan Short Film Festival plays at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this Friday, (7 pm., Brown Auditorium). Expect a cinematic cornucopia from around the world. The approximately two-hour program consists of eight shorts chosen from over 500 entries. Viewers also get the chance at the end of the screening to vote on their fave, with a winner announced after all 200-plus venues around the world have screened the films. The engagement at the MFAH is the only play date in Texas. (The winner will be revealed on the MSFF website on Sunday evening October 2.)
From Sweden, Incident By A Bank observes a robbery as seen from across the street by a couple of pedestrians. Based on an actual holdup the action makes these badguys look like slapstick actors rather than slick career heist men.
Dik, from Australia has a couple arguing over their interpretation of their young son’s school art assignment. Mak, from Switzerland concerns an abandoned baby. I Love Luci, from Scotland starts with a methadone couple searching for a lost dog, but really finding a pair of lost teeth.
The Legend of Beaver Dam starts as a campfire spoof, then evolves into horror but rapidly morphs into an all out operetta with some really good singing. This Canadian entry has a smart feel and good casting.
From the USA, Neil LaBute goes for his trademark battle of the sexes script writing with Sexting, starring Julia Stiles. Stiles speaks most of the dialogue and LaBute rightfully credits August Strindberg at the end since the template for this kind of intense monologue would be Strindberg’s The Stronger.
From Hungry, Forest has a bunch of people wandering around in trees. From Peru, A Doctor’s Job puts the aud face to face with life and death situations. Another USA entry David and Goliath tells a true life story set in WWII. A man on the run from Nazis finds a hiding place courtesy of a German Shepherd. The concluding film Martyr Friday comes from Egypt. The director taped important segments of the Cairo protest, the result of which give this short a ripped from the headlines feel.
All of these shorts are worthy of your viewing pleasure with Sexting, David and Goliath, Legend of Beaver Dam, and A Doctor’s Job revolving in my head as the best entries.
- Michael Bergeron