[Atlanta Film Festival] Short Films: Laughter (Narrative Short Film Program) - Reviewed

Laughter is a collection of narrative shorts that were screened as part of the short film program at the Atlanta Film Festival.

The Film Festival's Laughter program five humorous collisions of circumstance and character.

Sticky - UK – Directed by Richard Turley  – This '80s British suburban tale looks at a young teenage girl's obsession and lust over the local mailman. We've had weird, unusual and quirky teen stories before such as Welcome to the Dollhouse and Ghost World. Sticky falls somewhere in between those and it features an obsession that has definitely never been put to the screen before. It's quirky, sexual, and gross. Yet it's also quite funny and relatable no matter how odd the situation actually is. Alexa Davies is perfect as the awkward and obsessed teen, a character that we could further explored. Rich with '80s inspired music, fashion, and makeup, Sticky is well worth checking out.

My Lethal Weapon – USA – Directed by Hope Leigh – A young woman is pulled over and must navigate the typical power dynamics that can often exist between attractive women and male police officers. Directed and starring Hope Leigh, Elizabeth must use whatever tricks necessary in order to make herself less appealing and sexy to this pushy cop. Focusing on the dialogue and specific situation, the story examines the assets women can use to make themselves unattractive to men. It's female potty humor, but is amusing and slightly silly.

The Homestay – USA – Directed by Priyanka Mattoo - A traditional Indian couple travel to the US for the first time to visit their son, only to mess up their rental situation and be forced into close quarters with a gay couple and their dog. It's a humorous look at how culture clashes, homophobia, and stereotypes exist between people that don't know or understand each other. Tackling some of the same issues that have been seen on Master of None, it features witty dialogue and touching performances from Mera Syal and Max Jenkins. 

Offstage– Romania – Directed by Andrei Hutuleac – A famous Romanian actor is kidnapped by the mother of his biggest fan and forced to spend the night watching and judging a series of performances by the duo. This darkly comedic take on a dysfunctional family, obsession and extreme fandom is a cross between Psycho, Be My Cat: A Film For Anne and The Human Centipede II. 

Hail Mary Country – USA – Directed by Tannaz Hazemi – Ex-women's footballer Irene Dandy must try to defend her family of football fanatics when they are robbed by Nora and her half-naked male posse. Presented by the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW), writer and director Tannaz Hazemi has flipped the script on normal gender roles and stereotypes and crafted a wickedly original dark comedic crime thriller. With its dry humor and unusual story and characters, Hail Mary Country is a West Virginian blend of Spring Breakers and Pulp Fiction. With excellent camerawork and cinematography, a great score, interesting characters, and superb performances from Lori Jean Wilson, Alison Yates, and Vera Cherny, this is one short film that you must see. These are characters that I am desperately wanting and hoping to see more of.