Short films, program one | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Short films, program one 

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There's much to marvel at in this anthology of 16 shorts culled by Resfest organizers from hundreds of submissions. The latest digital technology seems to have liberated the filmmakers from realism and the expense of printing optical effects on film, allowing them to display a broad visual lexicon that's partly derived from the mixed-media avant-garde. Even the most mundane story in the bunch--Snack and Drink, about an autistic teenager's fascination with certain cartoon characters--is inventive when it comes to morphing real actors into animated figures. Among the most imaginative and fantastical works is Chris Wedge's Bunny, which uses state-of-the-art 3-D animation to tell the sweet and poignant tale of a lonely widowed rabbit and the pesky moth who leads him to a beatific reunion with his wife. Koji Morimoto's Tokitama Hustle takes the prize for ingenuity in fusing different animation methods for this macabre story about a spoiled brat. The Littlest Robo by Richard Kenworthy, a British animator noted for his Depression-era-style realism, is about a laconic father who's fiercely protective of his young son and features bravura pans and tracks across a vast desolate field of transformer towers. Another noteworthy entry is Syd Garon and Eric Henry's Inner Space Dental Commander, a depiction of a sadistic dentist and his assorted patients that's deliberately crude and absurd, like an R. Crumb comic strip. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, Friday, September 17, 8:00, 312-397-4010. --Ted Shen

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