IFF Boston 2012: Documentary Shorts (III)

30 May 2012, 6:13 am

The third documentary shorts program at IFFB offered three strong films.

Brent Hoff’s “The Love Competition” introduces the audience to several people who each claim they love the most — and a science team looking to investigate the strength of that love with an M.R.I. machine. It’s sweet, funny, has a satisfying twist. I was struck by how deeply many of the participants were affected by concentrating on love for an uninterrupted span of time, and how different their experience of the M.R.I. was from mine. (It was hard for me to concentrate on anything except the sounds it made and wanting OUT of the metal tube A.S.A.P.)

Howard Libov’s “Aglow” is about artist Paul Chojnowski, whose work involves images produced by an unusual technique. It’s startling and interesting to watch him work, but once the surprise wears off I was struck by the duality of Chojnowksi’s attitude. He seems interested in pushing himself to evolve artistically and push the boundaries of his chosen medium, but he’s also remarkably candid about the commerciality of his work.

“Mondays at Racine” portrays women with breast cancer who meet at Racine, a Long Island hair salon that offers free services to women with breast cancer. It’s definitely a heartstring-tugger, but what impressed me most was how impeccably director Cynthia Ward structured and paced the narrative arc.

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