Small Gauge Trauma (Various Directors, 2005)
To celebrate ten years of the Fantasia Film Festival, Mitch Davis picked thirteen of the short films that have run there over the years and worked with Synapse Films to release this little gem of a disc. Small Gauge Trauma presents these thirteen films, with a surprising number of extras.
Perhaps the best of these is The Separation, Robert Morgan's twisted little puppet show (Synapse's description is "Cronenbergian", though I'd liken it more to a weird combination of David Lynch and Jan Svankmajer) about Siamese twins who are separated, but find themselves nervous and insecure when on their own. Japan, of course, turns in a strong showing with L'Ilya, a relatively long (at thirty-nine minutes, the second-longest piece here) movie about a woman whose career consists of chronicling the moments of death of a rash of Japanese suicides, and how that affects both her and her loved ones. I'm only hitting the highlights; many others here are almost as strong.
There are some weak spots, most of which have to do with translation rather than the films themselves (the subtitles on Gorgonas are unintentionally hilarious, and one of these films doesn't seem as if it belongs at all, but those are minor considerations. For the most part, you're getting three hours of great short cinema. You want it. ****