‘Shorts’ eclectic mix of foreign films

Nathan Molteni

Every year since 2000, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek presents the latest edition of “The World According to Shorts,” a film anthology featuring a roster of films from various countries.

To qualify, shorts must participate in a major European film festival and have their roots outside of the United States.

Annually debuting some of the best short films to reach America, the program, curated by Jonathan Howell, includes Oscar-nominated shorts, films subsequently selected to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival and work by directors now noted for their feature films.

The lineup of films is selected based on balancing geographic areas, tones, styles and genres, appealing to a wide base of cinephiles and major industry workers alike.

In 2006, “The World According to Shorts” took a “best-of” approach, featuring six films that have earned rave reviews during previous showings.

The selections were highly eclectic in terms of geography, themes, moods and, most notably, techniques.

The six shorts are “La Perra,” “We Have Decided Not to Die,” “Antichrist,” “United We Stand,” “The Old Woman’s Step” and “Ring of Fire.”

“La Perra,” a Chilean film that recalls the sly satire of Luis Buñuel in its depiction of a bourgeois couple who concoct a story about their new housekeeper to reenergize their relationship.

The extent to which the couple goes to impassion their relationship offers both humorous and disconcerting moments.

An Australian short, “We Have Decided Not to Die” is a poetic piece about three modern-day journeys of transcendence.

Done without dialogue, the ability of the actors to contort themselves into life-defining shapes is both beautiful and thought-provoking.

From Poland comes the powerful drama “Antichrist,” a post-apocalyptic story about four boys.

Their newfound independence and social roles create a situation that evokes memories of “Lord of the Flies.”

In “United We Stand,” a sweetly comic short from Norway, eight old-time communists come upon a young woman stuck in a swamp, and the Brazilian short “The Old Woman’s Step” centers on an old lady who makes a trek from her village to the city in order to sell a chicken and buy her grandson a gift.

Concluding the sextet is “Ring of Fire,” a Western from Germany, which features Edward Gorey-inspired animation.

It starts out as a parody of “Brokeback Mountain” and goes on to mirror other Westerns in a surreal cartoon world with striking imagery.

The next offering in the ongoing Cultural Film & Lecture Series, “The World According to Shorts” will be screened four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for students and $5 for everyone else. All foreign language shorts will be screened in their native languages accompanied by English subtitles.

Guest speaker Joe Ansolabehere, a Hollywood producer, will appear at the Monday evening screening. He will provide an introduction and lead a discussion after the viewing period.

For more information, please contact the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web page: www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.