TIFF 2014: Short Cuts International Program 4 Reviews

The fourth program of TIFF’s International Short Cuts programming brings a focus on some individual narratives that use colorful and inventive techniques to examine such age old motivations as vengeance, humor and isolation.


(Null) is a hyper stylized look at the day and evening of a female, all taken from the narrow focus of a circle in the middle of the frame. Directors David Gesslbauer and Michael Lange fill that circle with iconic images that immediately flesh out a story without the need of a narrative driving the action forward. At a brief 4 minutes, (Null) is a fantastic palate cleanser for some of the meatier shorts of the program and a one of the better narratives.

8 bullets

8 bullets is a fevered piece of animation that eschews a typical narrative and uses many different types of narratives to tell the story of an obsessive man and his current obsession. Director Frank Ternier’s film is vastly experimental, which lends the film to both hit and miss, and its story jumps around enough that the audience will need to use their intuitiveness to keep up, but the animation is great and the ending twist may surprise some.


Newborns is a short documentary on the vicious and heinous act of acid attacks perpetrated in the middle east on women by some very despicable men. But rather than focus on the act itself, director Megha Ramaswamy chooses to show us the survivors of these atrocities and the impact they can have on those around them. An important documentary subject that will be examined for years to come, this time out at least gets to have some fun mixed into the proceedings. Newborns is the best film of program 4.



Persefone is an odd coming of age tale that deals with burgeoning sexual awareness as well as misplaced curiosity. The young man at the focal point of Grazia Tricarico’s film is a striking presence and delivers a very competent if not insular performance. His beach discovery and the actions that follow up said discovery shift the tone to a darker place, and though the film would appear to end hopeful, there really is no going back from the lines that were crossed.

Boogaloo and Graham

The 2nd film at TIFF this year with the word Boogaloo in the title, after the Midnight Madness selection Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, Boogaloo and Graham couldn’t be further from that documentary. Set in 1978 Belfast Ireland, Boogaloo and Graham are the names of 2 baby chicks give to Jamesy and Malachy by their father. Director Michael Lennox’s film is earnest and sweet with the 2 young precious leads and their chicken companions strutting around Belfast as proud as they can be. A fun tale, but considering the setting there are some serious undertones, with a satisfying ending that will leave audiences smiling.

Aïssa, a story about a desperate young Congolese trying to stay illegally in France, Skinner, a tale of an apartment bouncer in Budapest and The Shove, an absurd comedy about a club bouncer fearing retribution, we all unavailable to be screened at press time. (Kirk Haviland)

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