Golden Girls is an international collection of seven short films and a documentary about girls and women tackling some major issues, including virginity, death, friendship and loss. It is an official selection of the Worldwide Short Film Festival, screening Wednesday, June 1 at 3:15 pm at Varsity Cinema and Friday, June 3 at 8:30 pm at Varsity Cinema.

A scene from The Girl and the HunterThe Girl and the Hunter (La fille et le chasseur)
When a girl’s tears threaten to drown an entire village, it’s up to a fearless hunter to save the day. But surely there must be a better solution.

This Swiss animation is a captivating opening to the selection. There is no dialogue, but there is also no need for anyone to actually say anything; their actions and sounds are expressive enough.  The animation is not the polished images of a cineplex cartoon, but they are quite vivid. As the town is increasingly flooded, the townsfolk seek an extreme way out of their extreme situation. However, it turns out to be the simplest of answers that solves their problem. Until it’s replaced by another of course.

Smart Girls (Pametnice)
Nikolina has decided it’s time she lost her virginity. With the help of her more “experienced” roommate, Marija, she gets ready for her big night.

The North American premiere of this Bosnia and Herzegovina short is a social comedy about the do’s and don’ts of your first time – and how it still never goes exactly as planned. The typical girl talk about boys and television personalities is sprinkled throughout the film. When the date is finally set, the girls talk as if they are both experts on the act despite their limited to no experience. Though the short is 24 minutes, it’s bouncing from scene to scene keeps it from feeling too long. Unfortunately, Nikolina never could have imagined what her first encounter would entail.

After being sent home from work, Cookie (Jennifer Finnigan) relishes hanging out with her stay at home husband Johnny (Jonathan Silverman). However, things start to unravel when she realizes her time with Johnny can’t last forever.

It’s immediately apparent the couple is very much in love as they delight in each other’s quirks and company. However, it quickly becomes obvious the relationship we are witnessing may actually be too perfect to be true. The cute, romantic comedy rapidly becomes a story about grief and letting go. The bedroom scene near the end of the film is quite powerful as the narrative’s characters finally address what has been happening, leading to a touching conclusion.

Heavy Heads
In an attempt to break the monotony of her solitary life, Monika seduces her only company – a very willing and eager housefly.

This Danish short animation is as strange as it sounds. Once again, the images are simple and almost without dialogue. The character’s oversized head is without reason and her shuffling across the floor is irritating. The 7-minute narrative makes little sense and is nearly too absurd. Positioned in the centre of the collection, this is the first weak offering.

I Am a Girl!
Joppe has always known that he’s a girl and won’t let a little biology get in the way. This documentary is a brave and unflinching portrait of a boy who just wants to be a girl.

This glimpse into the life of a transgendered pre-teen in the Netherlands is amazing. Joppe is so lovely and well adjusted; it’s a shockingly sharp contrast to the usual North American experience depicted. Most of the people in Joppe’s community are very accepting. Moreover, she’s very candid about her situation, believing honesty is the best approach to building any relationship. Though the short appears to capture most aspects of Joppe’s life, it shows promise as a feature project.

Wee Requiem
The death of a tiny mouse invokes anything but a wee requiem.

This short portrays the artful mourning of a mouse. Words in block letters communicate the language of a narrator. In addition, the size of the mourners are entirely disproportionate, becoming more so as the story progresses. The Canadian piece is somewhat more of an experiment in technological features than a logical story.

Rhonda’s Party
Rhonda has focused all her energy on getting Margaret’s 100th birthday party celebrations just right; when she’s thrown a curve ball moments before the festivities are set to commence, it becomes a matter of ‘the show must go on.’

The importance of this singular event at a retirement home is obvious. However, the indifference of some of the staff is disheartening. Nonetheless, one nurse struggles to find a way to not disappoint the other residents, while ensuring Rhonda makes it through the situation. The Canadian short is a mix of inspiration and sadness as the older folks persevere.

In the darkened quiet of a hospital room, a dying woman and granddaughter reminisce about the moment that changed both of their lives.

There a several holes in the Korean narrative, but it is still a solid story. The granddaughter is spoiled by her grandmother’s desire to please her. Nonetheless, the lead-up and results of a three-legged race are compelling. On the other hand, it feels like the centre section of a slightly longer narrative.

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