Cinema 16: World Short Films (DVD)

Short films are becoming popular again, and no wonder. As we can watch more and more media on the move and continue the eternal search for bitesize chunks of audio-visual dynamite there seems less space to fit in an entire feature. But there's so much out there that it gets tricky to find those that stand out from the crowd. Well never fear, Cinema 16 have returned again with the best shorts from across the globe: and this time the crop is the best I've seen in a long time.

There's old short films from household names like Guillermo del Toro and Park Chan Wook, the latest edgy shorts including 'Madame Tutli-Putli' and plenty  more from a range of directors on their way to the top. The best thing is that they aren't all inaccessible abstract works that you need a degree to decipher (though having one might help with 'Madame Tutli-Putli'). In the eclectic array of delights on offer there's a dark and quirky animation from the maker of 'The Triplets of Belleville', a couple of gritty films about working-class life in Britain, and an interesting rush through the film world guided by Isabella Rossellini on the anniversary of her fathers death. The rapid journey through the history of cinema after her father Roberto hit the scene is a great introduction to neo-realism and its subsequent decline. However, the pick of the bunch has to be a gut-bustingly funny fake safety training video for forklift truck operators. Nothing is funnier than unnecessarily gory workplace accidents.

So think before you splash out a fortune on the next "season" of Family Guy or the 1,347,915th Simpsons DVD — there are much better short pieces of entertainment available.

EXTRAS *** Director commentaries on a majority of shorts. 

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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