By Rory L. Aronsky | September 10, 2003

For those who missed the first Brooklyn Underground Film Festival (like me), you have two options: Get your a*s to the 2nd one that’s taking place in October or just hunker down in the comfort of your favorite beer-stained easy chair and take a gander at these 16 short films that played at the first BUFF. It’s a grand ol’ time, don’t’cha know?
You’re Going to Die ^ ** ^ Directed by Dennis Palazzolo
The problem that develops with this aptly titled short is that Leo the Lion of MGM fame does not know when to shut the hell up. We start off with the usual “FBI Warning” crap found on every commercial tape and DVD in existence and then Leo roars as usual, stops, and begins speaking, courtesy of some dude named Vito Acconi. We’re told the usual stuff about how we’re going to die, our family’s going to die, and how pretty much everyone on Earth sooner or later is going to go the same route. But it doesn’t know when to END. The same statements are constantly repeated and I can understand it if the filmmaker feels a need to drill it into the heads of viewers, but I get it, I get it!
Pigeon ^ *** ^ Directed by Sebastian Del Castillo
A wide-eyed pigeon flops around on the ground, trying to catch its last breaths of air, doing anything to stay alive. But this winged critter sure isn’t going anywhere and while mournful guitar music fills the soundtrack, the bird’s body convulses heavily. Pardon the extremely bad pun, but: Bye bye birdie!
Pommes D’amour ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Nicolas Provost
Love can be two-faced, or even three-faced at times, as evidenced here, where a man says that he loves a woman as she keeps walking away. The film has a mirror-image look to it and at one point, when some guy is kissing a woman, it almost looks like he’s kissing himself. It’s all about emotion here, at certain points, and mirrors. Maybe mirrors on the ceiling too and… never mind.
Mother ^ **** ^ Directed by Oksana Buraja
If you bachelors out there thought your pads looked like crap (but you dig it anyway), then take a look at something worse, such as this impoverished family’s house in Lithuania. Parents and their friends socialize while their kids engage in such activities like gleefully killing cockroaches that they dump out of rectangular boxes and quickly try to smash with rolled up papers. At one point, one of the kids starts up the gas stove and pours vodka on the burner. Add that to a cat climbing out of the toilet, another cat and a dog fighting, and a few parakeets flying around, and you’ve got a regular Brady Bunch. Seriously though, “Mother” supposedly shows the connection between a mother and her children, but there’s not much of a connection to be had.
Springtime for Eva ^ **** ^ Directed by Russ Forster
Fans of “The Producers” will probably understand the title quicker than I did. But whoa, dude! It’s surprising what the Internet can reveal to you. “Springtime for Eva” shows us a woman named Eva Braun doing various things such as gymnastics, via home movies of her. Until I searched for her name on the Internet, I had absolutely no clue as to who she was. Well, now I know. She was Hitler’s mistress. The short shows a happy woman at times, but as history has shown through and through, there were no happy times for her as time marched on with one of the cruelest men in our world’s history.
Politics ^ *** ^ Directed by RJ Wilson
Witness our political system at work. It’s never revealed what hearing is going on here, but you’re surely not going to hear much. This took place in 1987 and if you keep your eyes open, you’ll spot the name “Cheney” on a nameplate, indicating that this is a hearing of our kind. Few questions are asked and the person being questioned doesn’t have much to say, and neither do the senators. With a situation like this, where neither side is saying much, it would be proper to call for a beer break or SOMETHING. Once the suds start flowing, the lips will undoubtedly start moving.
I Hate This Town ^ **** ^ Directed by Nicolas Provost
How about some porn with a techno beat? Women bounce up and down in orgasmic pleasure while the menfolk go the front and the back way. More porn remixes like this would be way cool.
Fall ^ Directed by Nat Jencks
This is a first! I couldn’t review this short because it wasn’t there! When you click on “Fall” and then click on “Play Film”, it says that because of the intense visual nature of the film, none of the Brooklyn Underground’s state-of-the-art technology could convert it. It is kind of a bummer because the synopsis mentions “Fall” having an ambient soundscape and ambient music jives with me.
Watch Out For Animals ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Maximillian Godino
If there’s one thing fun about cinema, it’s the ability to manipulate existing footage into something different. Much of the footage is run again and again, as we learn about the giraffe and then take a look at a cow that comes from an arctic country. This may remind many of those educational films they watched in school, the ones with the overzealous narrator who should have been hit by a few tranquilizer darts. It’s all in good fun.
Day of the Subgenius ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Chris Hopewell
The world looks like it’s about to end in this animated short when robots and dinosaurs come down to Earth for the kill. Meanwhile, we hear from various people of the “Subegenius”, including a blow-up doll who says she circumcises dinosaurs with her teeth. And some guy named Homo Correctus is a fission reactor. He also thinks backwards for fun. It’s weird and fun.
Old Movie ^ **** ^ Directed by Hilda Rasula
Imagine going through 500 old films to find the scenes you want to make a short film that involves old films. Wow, I think I heard a few obsessive movie buffs going through heavy spasms. That’s exactly what Hilda Rasula has done, and in between sightings of William Powell, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the people in the various films have champagne, go dancing, head up to the bedroom, go to Broadway shows, head off to war, and even go crazy.
Jacob’s Breakup ^ *** ^ Directed by Jakob Lodwick
Jacob has never been through a breakup before and what follows is his interpretation of what a breakup with someone might feel like. He hits the couch a few times, pisses on a plate with Katie Couric’s face on it, and goes through your average emotional turmoil, complete with puppets.
Correcto Incorrecto ^ **** ^ Directed by Matt Rodriguez
If you’re not sure what things are correct and incorrect in life, Mr. Mr. is here to help. This slick-haired fast-talking man claims that “like your mother, it’s easy” to learn what’s correct and incorrect. This includes a man riding a horse fully clothed (correct) and a man riding one naked (incorrect), as well as a man petting a dog (correct) and the dog humping the guy (incorrect). A group called The Future Animators of the Future, a name that Ed Wood would probably embrace very quickly, made Correcto Incorrecto. Judging from this, as well as their website, they’re a bunch of funny mo-fo’s.
Compositions Of Four Stairwells and One Person ^ *** ^ Directed by Olaf Geuer
Four different colored stairwells are shown on four rectangular screens while one person goes up and down them, creating enough banging that would make the members of “Stomp” proud. Unfortunately, it goes on long enough beyond the point of total annoyance.
A Family ^ **** ^ Directed by Joonyoung Suk
A father loses a wife and a son loses a mother at the beginning of “A Family”. Both arrive home and retreat into their separate rooms to grieve until separate lightbulbs go on. They realize that, “Hey, she’s gone. Now I can do what I haven’t been able to do when she was here.” For the father, this means smoking cigarettes and for the son, it means opening up a porn magazine and whacking off to his heart’s content. The father soon meets a female neighbor and it’s off to his bedroom for some good wholesome fun. I love it how Joonyoung Suk suddenly has the audacity at the end to insert a serious “message”.
The DVD has a few features attached to it, such as a commentary with five members of the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival who explain the motivation of why they started the festival and where they hold the festival. The venue is a warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn where artists paint murals on the walls before the festival opens. Besides that, they also talk about the space of the warehouse, which is 4200 square feet. For 10 minutes time, they give a great look at the background of the festival and also how the first year went. There are also four trailers for BUFF, with one that lifts a scene from “Call Me Claus”, starring Whoopi Goldberg. Also, if you head into the section marked “Sponsors”, you’ll find a brief video from Crest National, who helped put together the DVD. The coolest part of the video is where the machinery packs the DVDs and you see “Halloween” DVDs being packed into their cases.
With the line-up of films featured here, the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival seems to be off to a fairly good start.

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