IIFF 2008 - Future Imperfect - Science Fiction shorts review

The short subjects in the 2008 IIFF progam "Future Imperfect" touched on a little bit of everything, from the end of life on earth to the re-socialization of an alienated populace to a world teeming with folks literally infected by the omnipresent din of digital noise. Science fiction has always lent itself to short-form treatment, and the subject matter addressed in this year's selections showcased the genre's ability to offer pointed commentary amid the fantastic.

Dreamtime - strong design work is undone by a muddled story centered around Orwellian drones whose sadistically regimented work flow is interrupted by an outburst of dreaming. Really falls apart after a promising open.

Interior. Bedsit – Day - a frustrated screenwriter discovers his words have the ability to transport him anywhere in this UK charmer. Smart compositions and editing give the piece a sweeping feel. Nice sucker punch of an ending.

Light Years - four slices of life are presented on the eve of interplanetary destruction. Outstanding command of technique shines through, but it’s all for naught in service of an emotionally simplistic script. Still, one hell of a build-up.

High Maintenance - a real hoot. While the central conceit makes very little sense upon further reflection, the piece does a great job of mining laughs from some tired male / female stereotypes, via androids no less.

The Answer Key - imagine a state-sanctioned solution to the problem plaguing the characters in Kurosawa’s Pulse - that is to say, all-encompassing loneliness – mixed with sci-fi and a little romance and you’ll get this – a winning hybrid featuring strong performances and production values.

Elevator People Bring You Up When You're Feeling Down - an off-the-wall title for a wonderfully skewed, twisted goof on cellular culture. An upwardly-mobile couple find their wireless devices have become literally indispensable, which doesn't bode well for their eventual offspring. Features a fantastic clinching image.

Worldbuilder - little more than an excuse to show off an impressive skill set in 3D animation, a late-game attempt at emotional relevance rings rather hollow. That being said, the CGI is something to behold.

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