In the wake of Brexit, there’s a defiant be aware within the overarching theme – Completely happy Collectively – of this 12 months’s survey of European shorts, delivered to us by EUNIC London, an umbrella organisation for EU cultural establishments, and pulled collectively by London-based curator Shira MacLeod. However, as they are saying, it’s sophisticated: the “happiness”, as flaunted in lots of of those 19 brief movies, feels considerably ironic; long-suffering humour the frequent forex in muddling by way of a bundle of dissatisfactions, gripes and misunderstandings.
In Barnabás Tóth’s Chuchotage, two Hungarian translators make unlikely candy discuss from the Euro-sustainability waffle they need to parse for a pretty shopper. The state of affairs walks a effective line subsequent to creepy sexual harassment – earlier than these crafty linguists get their comeuppance.
Private lives thrashing tragicomically within the shadow of the political has been an indicator of the Romanian new wave, and The Christmas Reward’s hilarious premise suggests director Bogdan Mureşanu could possibly be one other future star of that motion. After overhearing his dad badmouth Ceauşescu, a seven-year-old posts a letter to Santa saying his father or mother’s current must be for “uncle Nick” to die. “He’s no little one, we’ve raised a snitch,” yells the panicked father. In the meantime, Swimmer is a Mexican – or slightly Swedish – standoff in a municipal pool as two policemen’s try to extract a lawbreaker wrings deadpan magic from piped Muzak, as director Jonatan Etzler floats a cheeky meditation on the boundaries between private and non-private area.
There are extra solemn entries: Vanessa Del Campo’s Mars, Oman, shot with photojournalistic rigour, fruitfully collages Bedouin, trainee astronauts and aspiring Arab scientists, whereas a golden-haired youth freewheels by way of gentrifying Porto in Leonor Teles’s Canine Barking at Birds, achieved with Claire Denis-like suppleness.
However the two standouts select to play issues mild: the candy-coloured Czech animation Sh_t Occurs, by Michaela Mihályi and Dávid Štumpf, is a three-part hard-luck story a few janitor in a constructing stuffed with animal tenants, which has a Robert Crumb-esque feistiness and punchy sound design. And the hills are alive with hollers, trills and whoops in Hannes Lang’s RIAFN, an initially quaint montage of Tyrolean shepherds’ calls that builds into one thing as pure and invigorating as a mountain stream. At this altitude, European humour has left day by day worries far under.