The Manhattan Short Film Festival will leave viewers cosmopolitan

A bad day gets worse when you pull up to your girlfriends parents house after killing her father (accidentally) and stealing his car which happens to have the family’s dead dog in it. An obsessive waiter knows your next move, your next entrée and just might be sitting down to eat with you as well. From cartoon sex with lizards in the mouth, to a pudgy little Danish kid who exudes the spirit of Clint, the Manhattan Short Film Festival’s finalists offer a wide variety of styles originating from all over the globe.

Four hundred twenty-nine entries coming out of 42 countries were narrowed down to 12 finalists, whose work will be shown to 295 audiences in 115 locations throughout 4 continents and voted on over the next week. The Merrill’s Roxy in Burlington is hosting this year’s 11th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, from Sept. 19-28.

With a running time of 140 minutes, punctuated by a short intermission, the festival offers films that allow you to relax and laugh a bit while others have you scratching your chin and raising your eyebrow to the person sitting next to you. Others might just elicit a grimace.

Director Pelle Moeller’s “Make My Day” is a simple and clever tribute to Clint Eastwood, using classic Clint-isms and the formulaic mysterious past along with shadowed lighting. This story begins with a pale rotund boy limping behind his father in a hospital waiting room. After quizzing the boy on Eastwood, he berates the boy for running from trouble and hurting his ankle, asking, “what would Clint do?” The film ends on a classic one liner that just sticks with you, easily becoming one of the top picks in the running.

The next film that really captures one’s attention is “Obe Ober,” (“The Waiter”) a film from the Netherlands by director Hiba Vink. A prim, tucked and ironed waiter who can take an order from a table without a word being uttered narrates this brief encounter in a small restaurant in Amsterdam.

The instability of our main character is suggested with his being waiter and witness of his own movements all at once, along with a strange love of espresso and brown hair.

The film is shot impeccably well, characterized by its detailed shots of the characters, a subtle touch, scanning eyes and grasping hands.

This film is mysterious and visually appealing and brings out memories especially for any of you who have ever worked in a restaurant.

“Teat Beat of Sex” by the Latvian- born Signe Baumane’s ran as four mini episodes between the other films, purely for sex education. Signe, who now lives in New York, takes you through an animated world where she discovers the feelings of wanting, getting and having sexual relations with those of the opposite sex.

Her narration is creative and is sure to be enjoyed by people all around the world who have not been sexually repressed.

The festival offers a glut of fantastic work beyond these few and is an event to behold in the coming week, and is a great idea to see how tastes differ and relate cross-culturally.

What: Manhattan Short Film Festival

Where: Merrill’s Roxy Cinema,

222 College St.

When: Sept. 19-28

Info: Short films from Australia, the

Netherlands, New Zealand,

Spain, Israel, the UK and the US.