This DVD includes 16 short films by mostly well known European film directors. The selection is eclectic and sure to please fans of short films. It is, however, just an average collection. Some of the films can be seen on other DVDs such as the shorts by Kieslowski, Godard and Svankmajer. The DVD is Region 2 and must be played on an all region player outside of Region 2. The transfer is overall very good.
The extras include commentary tracks for each film; most of which are by the director.
I have put the shorts in order of preference from great to good to fair to poor.
Jabberwocky (director Jan Svankmajer) [Excellent Surrealism]
This short starts with the Jabberwocky poem by Lewis Carrol and then presents a series of odd, funny, surreal pieces that all have a playful and political undertone.
Video: A bit dated but only adds to the charm.
Commentary by: Peter Hames scholar of Svankmajer and it is excellent.
Copy Shop (director Virgil Wildrich), [Replicating Humor]
A man who works in a copy shop begins to duplicate. Done in a visual animation style and is original and fun.
Video: Full Frame the film was transferred from over 18,000 paper Xerox copies so the quality is understandably poor. Transfer seems okay.
Commentary by: Director and is excellent in that it gives a lot of insight and anecdotes into the making of the film.
The Man Without a Head (director Juan Solanas) [Inspirational Fantasy]
A bittersweet French short fantasy [of sorts] about a man who has no head and tries to go buy one so he can impress a date. The film won many awards and was shown at many festivals. Overall it is very good and very well directed.
Video: Presented 2.35:1 and looks excellent with just a small amount of artifact.
Commentary by: Director and it is good.
Election Night (director Anders Thomas Jensen) [Ironic comedy]
This satisfying short is about a man who has ten minutes to get to his polling place so he can vote. But along the way he keeps encountering racist cab drivers, which he prefers not to ride with.
Video: 1.85:1 and looks excellent. Nice contrasts.
Commentary by: Director who has a lot to say.
Concert of Wishes (director Krzystof Kieslowski) [Political Allegory]
A young man and woman on a bike confront a group of other young men who use bully tactics to get his girlfriend. This is a very well directed slice of life kind of short that is rarely made because most shorts are about ironic situations. The film could easily be longer but showed that Kieslowski was a true talent.
Video: Full Frame in black and white. Looks dated and worn.
Commentary by: Marek Haltof a scholar of Kieslowski. He gives a very good biographical sketch of Kieslowski with some insight into the film.
Gisele Kerozene (director Jan Kounen) [Very Bizarre]
Scary witch-looking characters chase on of their own on broomsticks after a sacrificial head is stolen. Done with still photos strung together in animation style the short is original.
Video: Looks good.
Commentary by: Director who which is pretty good but the film is so short he doesn't have time to say much.
Epilog (director Tom Tykwer) [Revenge Reversed]
A man shoots his girlfriend then reconsiders the whole act and the film starts over. Sort of a dress rehearsal for Run Lola Run in the use of narrative techniques, camera work and editing.
Video: 1.85:1 and it looks excellent.
Commentary by: Director who gives a very good commentary and talks a lot about the making of the film.
Charlotte et Veronique…or All the Boys are Named Patrick (director Jean-Luc Godard) [Early Revolutionary]
A guy sets us a date with two women who – unbeknownst to him – are roommates. Godard's first official short film is much lighter than most anything he ever directed. Partly it could be because it was written by Eric Rohmer. And it certainly has the feel of a Rohmer film rather than a Godard one. Good if unremarkable.
Video: Full Frame black and white average transfer.
Commentary by: Colin McCabe gives excellent insights into Godard's film and the way it started his career.
Talk (director Lukas Moodysson) [Sadly Disturbing]
A lonely man needs someone to talk to. He finds someone and then forces them to listen with threats and violence. Very dark comedy that is more disturbing than entertaining or funny. But well directed.
Video: Full frame average transfer.
Commentary by: Director who enjoys watching his film again. He explains why he made the film rather than include the episode in one of his earlier movies.
El Secdleto de la Tlompeta (director Javier Fesser) [Messy Comedy]
This fast paced loony short has the feeling of a disjointed cartoon. Many characters and situations are all tied together by a self conscious voice-over. Not satisfying but goofy enough to be enjoyable.
Video: Excellent transfer.
Commentary by: [ ] and is good although it is hard to make out some of what he says since he doesn't speak English too well.
Fridge (director Peter Mullan) [Grungy sincerity]
A boy gets stuck in a discarded refrigerator and is saved by a homeless couple who manage to find the thug who put the kid in their in the first place. Dramatic and over acted British short that could make for a longer film.
Video: Shot in black and white and in 1.85:1 looks very good.
Commentary by: Director and it makes the movie better.
The Opening Day of Close-Up (director Nanni Moretti) [Above Average]
An ironic, self conscious short about a theatre owner who must contend with the opening of big blockbuster movies on the day he is opening Close-Up; a small Iranian film. It stars the director who often appears in his own movies.
Video: Shot in video full frame looks okay.
Commentary by: Director who gives commentary in Italian and a woman translates for him. Good but not remarkable.
World of Glory (director Roy Andersson) [Under Cooked]
A lonely everyman deals with the hell of life around him. Directed in Roy Andersson's loony deadpan style. Somewhat funny but not as well developed as his later film Songs from the Second Floor.
Video: Looks good if not a bit washed out, which is the director's style.
Commentary by: Director who talks in a monotone voice – much like his film.
Nocturne (director Lars von Trier) [Student Film]
A young woman is afraid of the light. Suddenly she must take a flight somewhere. She gets to the airport early before the sun rises. This has the feel of a student short. It has a lot of visual ideas and influences – particularly Tarkovsky – but it never gets beyond the idea stage.
Video: Full frame. Dated look very washed out colors.
Commentary by: Director and his editor. The commentary is rather jockey and is more of a reunion of sorts than it is insightful. Von Trier fans may like.
Le Batteur du Bolero (director Patrice Leconte) [Witty Music]
A single take film of a drummer in an orchestra that is playing a bolero. Sort of funny for a while but it grows rather dull after a couple of minutes and reveals no irony or revelation.
Video: Looks very good in 1.85:1.
Commentary by: the Director who makes the film better.
My Wrongs # 8245-8249 & 117 (director Chris Morris) [Bad Comedy]
A man is dog sitting for a dog that begins to talk and claims he is a lawyer. The man goes along with it all and gets into trouble. This short is really poorly directed and doesn't deserve to be on any good short film collection.
Video: Transfer is good.
Commentary by: A guy named Nick who was a production runner for the film. The track is okay but doesn't improve the movie.