There are a lot of short films playing at the Aspen ShortsFest tonight and over the course of the next five days -- like, a shitload of them. And since many of them are foreign and all of them, pretty much by definition because they are short films, are somewhat obscure, it can be difficult to decide which ones to check out. That's why we reached out to Laura Thielen, artistic director of the festival, and asked her to make one recommendation for each day. You're not going to have a chance to see these weird and awesome flicks any time soon or conceivably ever again on the big screen, so buckle up -- it's road trip to Aspen time.
Tuesday: Stanley Pickle As you can clearly see from the trailer, Stanley Pickle is visually just crazy -- that's because it employs a technique called, somewhat inexplicably, "pixilation," wherein the actors are shot frame by frame and then those frames are strung together, just like in animation. A crazy technique like that clearly deserves a plot that involves some steampunk-looking Rube Goldberg devices, and it appears you won't go wrong there, either.
Plays: Competition program 2*, 8:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House.Wednesday
She's thirty, he's twenty -- and with the benefit of age and experience, she knows that it will be unwise to date him, but she is going to do it anyway. The central metaphor here is that dating with a decade-wide age-gap is like eating a lot of chocolate cake, so think about that and take it to its logical conclusion.
Plays: Competition program 4, 8:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House.Thursday
:Courte Vie (Short Life)Courte Vie
follows the travails of a young man named Zhar on the streets of Casablanca and ends on a hopeful note -- but what it's about isn't really that important. All you need to know about is right there in the trailer: It's visually stunning in a brightly colored, slightly askew Tim Burton-esque kind of way, and if it revolves around French-speaking Muslims in Morocco, well, that's alright, too.
Plays: Competition program 6, 8:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House.Friday
Lou Reed is famously prickly in interviews -- he once walked out ofFresh Air
after Terry Gross a seemingly innocuous question -- butRed Shirley
turns the tables on him: In this documentary, Reed is the interviewer, and the subject is his cousin on the eve of her 100th birthday. She'll have some interesting stories to tell, but the real draw might be seeing Lou Reed behaving himself for once.
Plays: Competition program 7, 5:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House
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Saturday: Skallamann (Baldguy) And after all that, why not wrap up your week of short films with a nonsensical 12-minute musical about making out with a bald guy? Have you made out with a bald guy? You should, according to Baldguy.
Plays: Competition program 11, 9 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House.
* All the films playing at the Aspen Shortsfest are organized into "Competition programs," which are basically just 90-or-so-minute groups of short films -- tickets to each are $13.