Stewart’s ‘Come Swim’ headlines shorts collection

This year’s Sundance Short Film Tour presents seven small gems that played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — an engaging mix of genres and styles, most of them focusing on people in moments of crisis and decision.

The collection leads with the festival’s most talked-about short, which earned that honor because of its director, “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart. “Come Swim” is a densely layered 17-minute collage of impressionist images and whispered voices, showing a man (Josh Kaye) torn between daily obligation and his desires. Stewart has a good eye for arresting visuals, and the short suggests her talents aren’t all in front of the camera.

Director Peter Huang delivers laughs and social satire in “5 Films About Technology,” a rapid-fire series of interconnected gags about people being stupid with their cellphones. (The short may be familiar to art-house regulars, as the new distributor Neon Films attached it to the Anne Hathaway film “Colossal” this spring.)

Two dramatic shorts capture decisive moments for their main characters. Marshall Tyler’s “Night Shift” depicts a nightclub men’s room attendant (played by TV on the Radio frontman Tunde Adebimpe) dealing with an impending divorce and a job he knows is beneath him. Anu Valia’s “Lucia, Before and After,” which won the jury prize for U.S. fiction, follows a woman (Sarah Goldberg) in Texas during the government-mandated 24-hour waiting period to have an abortion.

The simplest, and in many ways the most emotionally direct, short of the bunch is the one documentary, “Ten Meter Tower.” Directors Axel Danielson and Maximilien van Aertryck station cameras all around a swim center in Sweden and ask people to try something they’ve never done before: jump off the 10-meter diving platform. With numerous angles and split-screens, the movie captures intense moments as folks steel themselves for the jump or decided to climb back down the ladder.

The one animated short is “Pussy,” by Polish student filmmaker Renata Gasiorowska, which takes a comic look at a woman idly pleasuring herself in her apartment. It’s funny, surprising and definitely not for kids.

The program closes with another award winner, Francisca Alegría’s Chilean/U.S. drama “And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye,” which took the jury prize for international fiction. Alegría’s story tells of an elderly woman, Emeteria (Shenda Román), who receives a visit from a ghostly grim reaper, while her rancher son, José (Luis Dubó), finds that something has decimated his cattle. It’s a heady mix of reality and myth, and a fine capper to a program of fascinating short films.

* * * 1/2<br>’Sundance Short Film Tour 2017’<br>Seven short films from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, displaying a variety of styles and emotions.<br>Where • Tower Theatre.<br>When • Opens Friday, Aug. 11<br>Rating • Not rated, but some shorts are probably R for sexual content.<br>Running time • 95 minutes; one short is in Swedish, another is in Spanish, and both are subtitled.

from The Salt Lake Tribune


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