For those feeling like they need a refresher on the past 50 years of European moviemaking as well as a taste of the state of the art, we have just the thing. Cinema 16: European Short Films brings together the work of some of the continent’s best filmmakers in brief but fully formed bites — no movie in the collection is longer than 27 minutes, and most are under 15.
The DVD is packed with gems, including Mathieu Kassovitz’s (Gothika) homage to Spike Lee’s Nike commercials, Jan Svankmajer’s 1971 surreal classic Jabberwocky, and Ridley Scott’s first movie, Boy and Bicycle, shot in 1956 and starring his little brother Tony (future director of Top Gun). Even the shorts that scream “film school!” are worth watching — it’s interesting to see how Christopher Nolan (Memento) and Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark) got their starts. But best of all is discovering the work of directors you don’t (yet) know. Andrea Arnold’s Wasp, which won the Oscar for Best Short Film in 2005, packs more tension and emotion into 23 minutes than can be found in the entire two hours–plus of that year’s Best Picture, Million Dollar Baby.
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