Leave it to a film student to pony up one of the most impressive entries in the Shorts Program IV at the ‘05 Sundance Film Festival. Rebecca Cutter’s Eating is confident, slick and poignant, and it’s a product of USC’s storied film program. The picture couldn’t be simpler. An overweight man in his thirties sits in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, listening to the stories of the OA members around him. In a succinct voiceover, he wonders aloud what brought him to this place, and that conjures a flashback to his childhood in the ‘70s. In the flashback, we meet a seemingly well-adjusted adolescent deeply hurt when his parents shun him while they throw a swingers’ party. He sulks alone until an older boy shows up with unexpectedly lascivious intentions, then retreats to the kitchen, where he smothers his anxieties by diving into food left over from the party. There’s nothing especially bold or surprising about the material, but the execution is exquisite. Cutter evokes P.T. Anderson’s work with her lyrical camera movements, emotion-drenched closeups, obvious skill with actors, and even her fetishistic interest in ‘70s kitsch. Even in the confines of this succinct film, Cutter generates drama, empathy and real human feeling. At the risk of an insensitive pun, Eating is a tasty snack that whets the appetite for the main course of a Cutter feature.