Shorts Galore

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The New York Sun

This year’s edition of the traveling hodgepodge of international shorts might ring a few bells for anyone who attended previous programs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Opening this year at Cinema Village instead, the colorful medley cherry-picks films from the “Worlds” of 2001, 2003, and 2004, and distinguishes itself by discarding naturalism in favor of other modes.

The most successful piece, “Ring of Fire” by Andreas Hykade, is an animated cowboy ballad by way of R. Crumb, a scrolling phantasmagorical landscape of sprouting body parts and hopeless abandon. Two gunslingers, one a sharp shot, the other a more cautious character who doubles as our narrator, stride about. Melancholy coexists stickily with lust and madness.

Ravaged landscape also looms large in “Antichrist,” Adam Guzinski’s fable on fantasy and brotherhood. In a quarry and across grey fields, a band of ragamuffins appease the demonic megalomania of their self-proclaimed leader. “The Old Woman’s Step” by Jane Malaquias fills the theater with the cockeyed warmth of its doddering “star,” a old Brazilian lady determined to sell her chicken.

More typical of the lineup is Daniel Askill’s “We Have Decided Not To Die,” a programmatic triple-take on mortality, or perhaps just an audition tape to direct music videos. In three shiny segments with various forms of trick photography, a solitary person cheats death.An enervating air of the magic-show stunt forestalls its ambitions. Hugo Maza’s “La Perra” is almost punchline cinema (and, predictably, the opening short), though the Buñuelian joke is not bad: A couple hires a maid, then gets off on pretending she’s a thief.

Hans Petter Moland directed “United We Stand” a couple of years before his picturesque but heavy-handed immigration drama “The Beautiful Country” wafted through theaters last year. He apparently used the same big brush with this political allegory: eight middle-aged socialists get stuck in a bog and sing party anthems. Got it.

Until July 27 (22 E. 12th Street, between Fifth Avenue and University Place, 212-924-3363).

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