It’s been around six months since I last rounded up a collection of the best short films I’ve seen recently, so let’s have another. If you missed them, be sure to check out the last set too. As always, point me in the direction of any that you would recommend.

Borrowed Time

Following the release of Wall-E, I considered it evidence of an imminent split in Pixar into a family-friendly team and one dedicated to adult-orientated animation. That it did not happen is, I think, a shame — and perhaps in part to blame for Pixar’s recent reliance on sequels. This out-of-hours project from a few Pixar employees exemplifies what could be achieved, in the story of a sheriff returning to the scene of a painful memory.

Expo

From visual-effects guru Joe Sill, this short about a solo female astro-miner is immediately reminiscent of Duncan Jones’ Moon. It explores choice, regret and the powerful need for cathartic redemption.

The Talk

Broaching the truth in a father-daughter conversation in a diner.

Lost Face

Based on a Jack London story, a fur thief caught by natives must think fast to bargain for his life. As humans, we seek what control we can.

Uncanny Valley

If this is the year that virtual reality starts to become a commodity, here is a film that serves as a timely warning about the social implications of addiction and abuse of such all-consuming technology.

Lookouts

A Kickstarter-funded live-action short based on Penny Arcade’s fantasy world in which young scouts are trained to protect their villages from the creatures in the forests. A troop on their final trial is ambushed by the basilisk they hunt.

Planet Unknown

Having started with a reference to Wall-E, it makes sense to end with this animated short. It is a tonally similar piece about two robots testing for a life-supporting planet. Visually they are a combination of Wall-E and the Mars rovers, and the animators have imbued them with remarkable character that demonstrates a touching friendship.

And I will leave you with the words of Truffaut, as I think each of these shorts serves one or other of his desires:

“Today, I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between; I am not interested in all those films that do not pulse.”
-Fran├žois Truffaut, The Films in My Life