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While the diverse themes in TIFF’s Short Cuts Canada Programme #4 showcase the variety of up-and-coming talent in this country, a common thread joins the films in this programme: all deal with weighty issues with a hint of humour, and even compassion. Reem Morsi’s Their Feast follows a post-Mubarak Egyptian family as they prepare a homecoming feast for their imprisoned relative. Kelvin Redvers’ The Dancing Cop dabbles in surrealist melodrama while facing the very real problem of racial profiling. In Elizabeth Lazebnik’s Safe Room , we’re given a child’s perspective of the oppressive absurdity of war. Jeanne Leblanc takes a tense look at the daily grind of city life (and traffic jams) in Sullivan’s Applicant . The darkly adorable The Worst Day Ever by Sophie Jarvis describes just that: a precocious kid’s day-long streak of bad luck. When You Sleep by Ashley McKenzie watches a young couple’s relationship fall apart against the backdrop of their rat-infested apartment. Jeremy Ball’s Frost   takes place in an unnamed and seemingly timeless frozen landscape in which a young woman makes a shockingly otherworldly underground discovery.

The stand-out piece in the program is The Worst Day Ever . It’s an over-the-top and blackly hilarious portrait of an unbelievably mature youngster’s awful day. While hardly realistic, the film is a charming, on-point reminder of what it was like to be a grumpy kid. Their Feast also packs a punch, although in a much more realist aesthetic style: the daily existence of post-revolutionary Egypt is oftentimes unpredictable and undeniably difficult, but the film presents its characters with hope. Sullivan’s Applicant is, at first, seemingly unremarkable, but ends up surprising with some effectively heartwarming and genuine human interaction between its characters.

Is Short Cuts Canada Programme #4 Essential TIFF Viewing?

Given that most short films find it incredibly difficult to get the kind of wide distribution that feature-length films do, I’d say you should definitely catch this one while you can. And you never know from whence emerging talent can come: you could one day brag about having seen a notable filmmaker’s early shorts at TIFF 2012.

Short Cuts Canada Programme #4 Screening Times

TIFF’s Short Cuts Canada Programme #4 shows on:

  • Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4 at 6:30 pm, and
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema at 4:45 pm.

 Short Cuts Canada Programme #4 Production Gallery