Sampling the 1 Reel Fest

HERE'S THE good news: Bumbershoot's seventh-annual mini-movie extravaganza has moved into the Bagley Wright Theater, a venue twice as large as the old Intiman spacemeaning you won't have to wait an hour to get in. Some 119 U.S.- made titles are being shown beginning at noon each day, programmed into hour-long thematic blocks with titles like "Tough Guys" and "Sex Ed." The bad news: After immersing myself in tapes, I only have a few titles to recommend. My picks, in program order, and the hour in which they'll be screened:

The Erlking Set to the famous Schubert leider, this lovely short looks like a woodcut come to life, but it's actually animated out of sand! The lament of a father fearing for the life of his feverish son packs tremendous mortal urgency to itas if we're seeing everything outside the frame of a Breugel canvas, all the gloomy reality behind the seasonal festivals. 3 p.m. Fri., Aug. 29.

From the 104th Floor Rosie Perez lends her voice to this somber, fatalistic pencil- drawn Sept. 11 meditation (written by a 14-year-old girl), whose doomed protagonist muses, "Accidents happen every day. I know there's no way out." Amid the animated smoke and flames, real photos are glimpsed on the abruptly abandoned office desks. What would you dojump or burn? 1 p.m. Sat., Aug. 30.

The Strange Condition of Professor DeGroot "I am torn between the necessity and the impossibility of answering," says a neurasthenic, German-accented academic who hates to receive phone calls. (The voice, but not the body, belongs to Werner Herzog.) Based on a Calvino story, this live-action short burrows inside an obsessive, disordered, but articulate mind that gradually comes unhinged in extended interior monologue. 4 p.m. Sat., Aug. 30.

The Box Man Silent dread in a grim, black-and-white Mitteleuropa, this stop-motion Kafka-esque fable of urban apartment envy leads to violence, but the greater violence is perhaps self-inflicted. Why would a man want to live in a cardboard box? Because someone else has it; and if they have it, it must be worth taking. It's like Aardman goes film noir, based on a novel by Kobo Abe (Women in the Dunes). 5 p.m. Sun., Aug. 31.

The Ocularist This creepy, fascinating, and thoroughly oddball short doc about a Portland medical illustrator who painstakingly crafts artificial eyes owes something to Errol Morris (although with busier camera technique). Fredric M. Harwin is obviously a guy who cares a great deal about his damaged clients. "I want them to feel whole again," he says, like an artist who's also a healer. 6 p.m. Sun., Aug. 31.

Pan With Us Seattle genius-madman David Russo (Populi) returns with another stop-motion/time-lapse wonder, this one set to a Robert Frost poem. You'll recognize many Northwest locations in this pastoral elegy to what's been lost beneath urban sprawl, sports stadiums, and ever-more roadways. 6 p.m. Sun., Aug. 31.

Pavlov's Bell Another Aimee Mann video from ex-Seattleite Evan Mather, his colorful all-CGI effort pulses and jiggles like a children's flip book held by a playfully wavering hand. You don't have to like the song, or the album (Lost in Space), but it helps that both are also strong. 8 p.m. Sun., Aug. 31.

Toy Illegal Chinese immigrant women are forced to pay off their snakehead debts by working in a brothel. Like Lilya 4-Ever, it's suitably grim and matter-of-fact. 9 p.m. Sun., Aug. 31.

Do Not Disturb You know where this one is going, as a hotel guest decides to investigate some screams next door, but the suspense is well wrought and the mood airlessly ominous. 3 p.m. Mon., Sept. 1. BRIAN MILLER

 
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