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last update 8.Mar.16
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Bedding Andrew   4/5  
dir Blair Fukumura
with Andrew Morrison-Gurza
14/Canada 5m

Bedding Andrew Basically, this documentary short simply features the young disabled Andrew chatting about his sexual experiences. But what he has to say is both personal and powerful. He laughs as he recounts his experience when he was 19 and wanted to lose his virginity, so he met up with a guy he remembers as a super-masculine adonis. Afterwards, he felt that this was love, but the guy tells him he did it out of pity. Clearly, this scene has replayed itself for Andrew, who admits it still happens to him 11 years later. And yet he still can't escape the thought that, "If you can get over your fear of my body, you will like me." Andrew is so smiley and honest that what he has to say hits with unusual force, even though filmmaker Fukumura couldn't resist a couple of dodgy illustrative cutaways. His deep desire comes through strongly: to find a person to date and properly share his life with. This makes the film much more than the sharing of an anecdote. It's a vital first-person observation about an issue most people avoid.

26.Mar.16 Flare

Credence   1.5/5  
dir Mike Buonaiuto
scr Jamie Thompson
with Anthony Topham, Alex Hammond, Tia Kenny, Jamie Thompson, Richard Crowest
15/UK 29m
topham, hammond, kenny

Credence Overlong and oddly indulgent, this mini-melodrama is surprisingly sappy for a British film. At least it looks gorgeous, as it opens on a rural farmhouse, where a young girl (Kenny) lives with her two dads (Topham and Hammond). But there are reports on the news of total devastation after an asteroid collided with the moon, and the only hope is to evacuate earth for another planet. Then a man (Thompson) arrives who says that the girl qualifies for a space on the last rocket out, but the price is very high, leading to a massive moral conundrum. Director Buonaiuto gratuitously dribbles this plot out gradually, obscuring everything with choppy cutaways to happier times and stock footage of rockets. But the much more interesting drama is going on between this fragile family (with some cleverly subtle effects in the sky behind them). While the acting is nicely understated, the emotion is cranked up beyond reason. So what happens is neither bravery nor true love: it's nonsensical selfishness. And it leaves the film feeling false, shallow, draggy and emotionally manipulative.

26.Mar.16 Flare

The Future Perfect   4/5  
dir-scr Nick Citton
with Robert Baker, Zachary Quinto, Cody Davis
14/US 11m

The Future Perfect This short is rather gimmicky and odd, but there's a very strong kick in the tale. Hardesty (Baker) works in a time machine, sent repeatedly back 150 years to 1968 by the disembodied voice of Greenwood (Quinto). His job is simple: make sure a red balloon doesn't blow away, but he can't help but rescue a young boy (Davis) who falls into the path of an oncoming train. Aside from one brief glimpse, all of this plays out in the dialog with the superbly expressive Baker on-screen and the Hal-like Quinto off. Through this we learn that the boy is patient zero for a devastating disease. And we also begin to understand important details of the relationship between Hardesty and Greenwood. It's intriguing, with strong themes and a big moral question at the centre. Ultimately thoughtful and haunting.

25.Mar.16 Flare

The Guy From Work   4/5   Le Gars d’la Shop
dir-scr Jean-Francois Leblanc
with Serge Boulianne, Eric Robidoux, Marjolaine Laurin
15/Canada 15m
boulianne and roubidoux

The Guy From Work Edgy and darkly pointed, this short is strikingly shot mainly in extreme close-up without a musical score - most scenes are drowned out by the sound of the big machines on the workshop floor. It centres on the middle-aged, married Raynald (Boulianne), who quietly gets on with his job amid a team of friendly colleagues. At the factory and on the office hockey team, Martin (Robidoux) is the life of the party, regaling everyone with his raucous stories. And Raynald clearly has a crush on him, a secret side of him he hides from everyone, including of course his wife (Laurin). But day by day his feelings grow, and he can't resist writing a note to Martin telling him that he finds him attractive. Where this goes is rather surprising, mainly because it's so impossible to predict. Writer-director Leblanc keeps the atmosphere so bracingly realistic that virtually anything could happen, and the characters are played with so much honesty that this crisp little drama often feels like a documentary.

25.Mar.16 Flare

Mother Knows Best   4.5/5   Mamma Vet Bäst
dir-scr Mikael Bundsen
with Alexander Gustavsson, Hanna Ullerstam, Karl-Erik Franzen
16/Sweden 13m
gustavsson and ullerstam

Mother Knows Best After a short prologue in which we watch an adorable young couple (Gustavsson and Franzen) cuddle happily in the back seat of a car and say goodnight, this film shifts into a single 9-minute take as Gustavsson takes the front seat with his mother Ulerstam at the wheel, out of focus next to him and talking non-stop about her feelings and opinions about having a gay son, her disapproval of his boyfriend and pretty much everything else. Her comments are hilariously awful, but filmmaker Bundsen holds his gaze on the son over the course of the shot, as the joy fills and then drains out of his face. This is a potent exploration of casual everyday bigotry, the kind of pressure parents apply without intending to or even realising that they're doing it. It's a serious stunner of a film.

25.Mar.16 Flare

The Orchid   3.5/5   La Orquídea
dir-scr Ferran Navarro-Beltran
with Martin Curletto, David Blanco
16/Spain 3m
navarro beltran

The Orchid Very brief, with a lovely sense of life to it, this film centres on Fernando (Curletto), who is tending to the plants on his roof terrace. In voiceover, we hear the phone messages he is leaving for his son, who has moved abroad, as the father first breaks the news that he's in a new relationship. Then that his new partner is a man. And then that they're planning to get married. When the son (Blanco) finally phones back, the question is why he has been avoiding the calls. There's not much to the movie aside from a gentle and vitally important look at changing attitudes among European men. But the final image, which refers back to the title, can't help but leave a big smile on any viewer's face.

25.Mar.16 Flare

The Saint of Dry Creek   3.5/5  
dir Julie Zammarchi
narr Patrick Haggerty
15/US 4m
The Saint of Dry Creek

The Saint of Dry Creek Part of an effort to capture stories on-screen, this brief short has been animated to illustrate a story told by Haggerty about growing up gay on a dairy farm in Washington state in the 1950s. He recounts a day before he understood his sexuality, when he drove to school with his big brother while putting on a glittery costume for a school show. This is too much for his macho brother, who abandons him and calls their dad to take care of it. Then Dad arrives in his filthy farm clothes, embarrassing Haggerty in front of his school mates. The film makes a very simple but pungent point: don't hide who you are, because that means that you think you're doing the wrong thing. Simple, engaging and important.

26.Mar.16 Flare

Sauna the Dead: A Fairy Tale   3/5  
dir-scr Tom Frederic
with Tom Frederic, Kumar Muniandy, Neil Summerville, Jonathan Pryke, Dannie Pye, Ryan Anthony
16/UK 23m
muniandy and frederic

Sauna the Dead: A Fairy Tale A terrific idea, very nicely shot with a dry sense of humour and skilful camerawork, this witty short is a lot of fun even if it never quite makes the most of its premise. Jacob (Frederic) is a handsome guy at a London sauna, fending off interest from the other men as he roams through the halls. Then he notices that the guys are turning into zombies, and he teams up with Aseem (Muniandy) in a desperate attempt to find a way out. What follows is a series of somewhat repetitive encounters with marauding undead, and since it only rarely takes proper advantage of the satirical premise, this could have been edited down to about half the running time. But it's still enjoyably ridiculous, especially as all of the towels magically stay in place throughout the chaos.

25.Mar.16 Flare

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