The Best of the Shorts | Chicago Reader

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Cuteness and sentimentality mar Daniel Gamburg's Tsipa & Volf (2000, 25 min.), a home-movie-like portrait of a Jewish-Russian couple who've been together for half a century (which I only sampled), as well as Ryo Hayashi's fictional short Useless (2000, 14 min.), about a Japanese insurance worker who's retiring. But the three other works on this program refreshingly avoid such pitfalls: Jophi Ries's Always (1999, 14 min.), a subtle German fiction short about another long-term marriage; Jennifer Petrucelli's Inside/Out (2000, 8 min.), an affecting documentary about a woman whose face is half-paralyzed; and Scott Catolico's silly but spirited Canadian jaunt Smoking Can Kill You (1999, 5 min.).

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