Shorts: View Askew Wed., June 20 at 12 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre 1. Also on Thurs., June 21 at 4:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre 3.

Meaning of Robots

If Himmler Played Guitar

Directed by Andy Taylor Smith

Does Jon Valinski, the subject of Andy Taylor Smith’s straightforward portrait, actually look like Heinrich Himmler, or is it that he actively grooms and accessorizes himself like the notorious Nazi Reichsführer? While the Englishman may seem harmless, even childlike, as he plays with a remote-controlled Panzer tank in his backyard, the fact that he’s wearing a full German SS uniform and lives in a house filled with Nazi memorabilia hints at darker issues the film purposefully declines to address. —Big Al Ewald

Catcam

Directed by Seth Keal

A German engineer, living in the U.S., submits to his natural proclivity for surveillance and wires Mr. Lee, his family’s adopted cat, for picture and sound in this charming entry by Seth Keal. The feline-photographed portions of the film reveal that the life of an outdoor cat is not unlike that of your unemployed cousin: drinking, trespassing, and cold kickin’ it with hairy, flea-infested layabouts. —BAE

American Juggalo

Directed by Sean Dunne

Comprised entirely of interviews with Insane Clown Posse fans (“ninjas” is the preferred term) who have made the annual pilgrimage to the apocalyptically Bacchanalian Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Ill., Sean Dunne’s short about the cult of Fago, face paint, and brotherly love walks the line between laughing at and laughing with his subjects. But, for better and worse, American Juggalo is an unflinching portrait of a much-maligned subculture. —Lindsay Zoladz

Well-Fed

Directed by Anna Moot-Levin

If the thought of flesh-eating plants wasn’t creepy enough, just wait until the crackle of a closing Venus Flytrap echoes down your ear canal. In Well-Fed, enthusiasts reveal stories of this carnivorous plant, which to the ignorant eye can appear as harmless as a weed. The film’s exquisite close-ups, juxtaposed against the plants killing and eating insects, dig into one of nature’s toothiest mysteries. —Stephanie Haven

Meaning Of Robots

Directed by Matt Lenski

Whoever questioned whether porn can be art has never seen Mike Sullivan’s stop-motion animation films of rusty robots having sex with one another. In Matt Lenski’s strange, hilarious Meaning of Robots, Sullivan stands in his cluttered workshop pointing to the “fuckable pussies” he drills into the crotches of metal dolls. A refrigerator covered with the photos of women provide a hint to the fantasies behind his creations, but we don’t learn much more. I would’ve liked to see more clips of Sullivan’s completed films; I guess I’ll have to go to his RoboMike website to get my roboporn fix. —Tessa Moran

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