The Best of Tribeca Shorts

Finally, a short film for masters of the universe: Myles Price’s beautifully acted short casts Jay O. Sanders and Joel Swetow as two longtime friends who also happen to be hard-driving executives with a bickering backstory. Rendered with surprising empathy (John Sayles would be shocked!), this business-class drama about the dissolution of a corporate (and human) partnership is a smart acquisition for a film festival held steps away from Wall Street. L.H.

Starting off in one register, with brothers Benno and Gill happily heading out on a liberating getaway weekend to the beach, Campbell Maynes’s gripping little film quickly switches to another, as a freak incident results in a rapidly escalating standoff between man and nature—and then between the two men themselves. Tight, tense, and, by the end, surprisingly tender. B.E.

Beginning in the white-flour dust of a Chinatown noodle factory, this melancholic short by NYU film student Gregory Mitnick tells the story of a lovelorn worker (the poetically named actor Tokio N. Paris) who has his eye on a local girl. Think the unrequited love of Tom Waits’s “I Think That I Just Fell in Love With You” crossed with the fashion sense of Miranda July. L.H.

The Iraq war rages on at Tribeca with the torture doc Taxi to the Dark Side, the soldiers’ diary I Am an American Soldier: One Year in Iraq With the 101st Airborne, and this sharp look at the more than 30,000 third-country nationals who are doing laundry and serving food to our soldiers. By interviewing former Halliburton supervisors and three undeniably exploited Filipino workers, director Lee Wang convincingly illustrates how the post-draft military has used low-rate workers from South and Southeast Asia to keep the costs of war—human and economic—down and largely out of sight. This is one short that deserves a feature expansion. L.H.

An autistic man, left to his own devices after his mother’s death, finds himself confronted with what might be the love of his life walking down the path one day. To say more would probably give away too much; even so, the real accomplishment of Sonia Whiteman’s beautifully composed short lies not so much in its touching story (or its unexpected final twist) but in the economy of its style, as it tells a largely silent tale about a man whose inability to communicate doesn’t get in the way of his ability to connect. B.E.

The Best of Tribeca Shorts