Shorts Break: How She Slept at Night and Our Neck of the Woods
Shorts Break returns this week with Lilli Carre's animated tone poem How She Slept At Night, about a man who tries to remember his wife, but can only come up with a few scattered details as his memory begins to decay. A Chicago-based artist and illustrator, Carre works within a number of forms and mediums, including experimental animation, comics and print. What's particularly striking about this project is how much emotional resonance she is able to pack in to such a simple idea and short runtime. In just a few hand-drawn images, we experience mystery, romance, nostalgia, joy, and tragedy unfolding below the surface of the narrator's phrases. You can view more of her art at www.lillicarre.com
Next up is a charming and subtly crafted narrative story set against the backdrop of a rural factory in the heartland. In Our Neck Of The Woods, Bob Underwood's mundane life manufacturing plastic lawn-ornament deer is disrupted by an enchanting Georgian refugee who begins working alongside him. Unable to stop daydreaming about her plight, he decides to rescue her from her troubled existence, whether she needs it or not. Director Rob Connolly, who grew up in a North Carolina factory town that has since fallen on hard times, brings a sense of understanding and context to the hard, yet monotonous work, and the daydreams and aspirations that come with the job. In fact, many of the extras were former workers at the factory the film was shot in, who came out for a chance to see the place up and running again. Balancing his vision between optimistic good-hearted characters and the hard realities of the culture, Connolly applies a great deal of detail and production value to ground his story. In the end, it's not the industry that defines these towns, it's the people who reside in them.
Come back next week for an Oscar-nominated tale of dystopian consumerism and an ill-fated quest to find fly sneakers for a stylish pony.