EDITOR'S NOTE: Gary Wolcott said this week's snowstorm has prompted the Battelle Film Club to cancel Friday night's program from Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
Short films is an interesting genre. Some are hits. Some miss. Most are mediocre.
What makes the genre so odd is that even the miss and the mediocre shorts have something about them that make them irresistible.
Even if you’re bored you can’t stop watching. You don’t tune out.
When a short subject is good, it’s very, very good. Some are so good you wish they were a whole movie and not just five, 10 or 15 minutes. One of those is The Romantic Killer, the kickoff movie of the Battelle Film Club’s showing of seven shorts from last year's Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, England.
Three of the seven are brilliant. The others are pretty good. Since free is the admission price, it’s no doubt worth the trip.
The Romantic Killer is beautifully shot, brilliantly edited and wonderfully acted. Best of all, it is a wordless mystery. The non-dialogue adds heft to an ending twist that will have you scratching your head and wondering how you missed it.
Another good one is Tooty’s Wedding. A couple are bickering. She’s not happy. He’s not happy. They’re going to his old flame's wedding. Oh, joy. Once there, mixed messages lead to some interesting mistakes and a fun, and funny, ending.
The third notable film is a short music video called Soldier. Since the lyrics were impossible to decipher, the mix of images accompanying the music gives a clue. From what I could tell, it’s an anti-war message.
One of the criticisms of the clips that were given to me is the difficulty understanding the dialogue. It’s a fatal flaw for most short subjects. With little or no financing, producers, writers and directors are forced to use less than state-of-the-art equipment. Film and video — and the effects that go along with them — are easy to do.
Sound is another matter altogether.
Maybe the sound will be better at the Battelle Auditorium than it was in my living room. And besides, this is a free showing and the creativity of the seven shorts outweigh the struggle you may have to hear them.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Most are not rated but nothing in this group is stronger than PG-13. The Aesthetica Short Film Festival shorts begin at 8 p.m., Jan. 20 at the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.