Arts Desk

D.C. Shorts, Showcase 8: The Dramatic Possibilities of Laundromats

Short reviews of films from this year's DC Shorts Film Festival

An eclectic selection broadly concerned with family, intimacy, and companionship, this showcase of foreign and domestic shorts ranges from works of wry humor to stone-faced violence. While there are few absolute missteps, Laundry Day and Water are the strongest of the bunch.

Score: A French couple fights about fucking in a laundromat. Namely, about many times each has done it with other people, and how many times is too many. Prepare yourself for a lot of penises.

Water: Four times a day, a Tibetan mother treks to a spring, collects 80-pound barrel of water, and hunched over, shuffles it back to her family. This is powerful work that speaks volumes with its silence.

Shinobi Blues: A ninja puts to use a very particular set of skills—until he disgraces himself and is out of a job. Hilarity ensues when he tries out new careers in this animated children’s short.

Laundry Day: Another film set in a laundromat. Instead of a couple bickering over genitalia, though, this Canadian short features a boy and a girl who don’t know one another—or do they? Laundry Day is a tight, cute, and well-executed comedy that shouldn't be missed.

Mikros Vasilias (Little King): A man exacts vengeance on the sicko who molested him as a child, while lamenting how the abuse twisted him into an angry, dangerous man.

Brad & Gary: Two lumpy-looking monsters learn to work together when nose-picking and ear-scratching gets them into a dangerous situation. This children’s short was made by the team behind Despicable Me, who seem to have a penchant for amorphous talking blobs.

The Last Animals: After the bees die, the animals die. After the animals die, a mother resorts to scraping bits of burned food from an oven to feed her baby. This short drama is tense and startling, even while it wallows in apocalyptic sensationalism.

Can’t Dance: An widowed train enthusiast mixes his late wife’s ashes into a tall glass of Crown Regal, then her ghost goads him into wooing the septuagenarian next door. Luckily, these old folks are adorable.

10 and 2: A teenage boy tries to juggle his love for a tuba-playing honey with the stress of a driver's exam. A pair of scummy robbers get involved along the way, and a low-rent chase goes down. This confidently edited short is eye-catching, but peters out as style gets sidelined by its unwieldy ambition.

Friday, Sept. 7 at 9 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial (followed by Q&A)

Sunday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial

Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial

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