[Boston Underground Film Festival] Short Films: Touching From a Distance - Nostalgia and Sci-fi Dominate in BUFF’s Narrative Shorts - Reviewed

Touching From a Distance is a collection of narrative shorts that screened at the Boston Underground Film Festival.

The Boston Underground Film Fest’s Narrative Shorts program does not disappoint with seven entries that are all very singular yet still a whole. This grouping is titled ‘Touching From A Distance’ and includes various interpretations of that idea that range from body horror and lo-fi sci-fi to quiet reflections on human connection. Each was extremely engaging through their use of visual rhetoric, subtle storytelling, in-your-face flashcuts, and sound design. Even if the stories being told are all-too familiar, the style and tone of each of these films make the ideas seem fresh.

5% Dad - South Africa – Directed by Lyall Coburn – Solid 80s style and art direction tell a tale of a cult leader’s daughter reconnecting with someone long-lost. A later reveal fully completes the 80s themes and pastiche.

Evelyn’s Room – USA – Directed by Nicole Georgallas – A young woman browses through her grandmother’s house while experiencing memory-triggering rooms and knick-knacks. The natural lighting and hazy focus lend themselves well to this dream-like short that includes a few David Lynch type moments.

Beautiful Injuries – France – Directed by Judith Beauvallet - A young radio show intern struggles with feelings for the show’s host. Some stylish quick cuts and perspective shifts help elevate this familiar story of human connection and redefinition of beauty.

Sitting Across From Strangers Like Us – Directed by Melina Valdez – Some familiar camera focus tricks are used creatively in this story of a woman seeking connection after being rejected during a threesome. The themes of genuine connection and humanity tie together these seemingly random scenes.

Contact – USA – Directed by Teal Greyhavens – What begins as an intimate conversation between two men becomes a sci-fi tale that uses basic special effects to pull you in while simultaneously revealing the plot.

Let Them Die Like Lovers – USA – Directed by Jesse Atlas – Big ideas and low-fi production design present a disturbing tale of a new government program to help combat homegrown terrorists. This one will get under you skin.

Limbus – USA – Directed by Lee Peterkin – Trippy, sepia-toned puzzle that uses body horror elements and bizarre clues to tell a story about letting go. The absurd and strange imagery here will stick with you for a few days.  

-Eric Beach