SXSW Film review: Texas shorts offer lively vignettes

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"Detective Calzone," one of the Texas shorts.
"Detective Calzone," one of the Texas shorts.

“Detective Calzone,” one of the Texas shorts.

Texas Shorts brings us 10 different film vignettes ranging from a hardscrabble Spanish-language family drama, “Carne Seca,” to a spoof on the C.S.I.-esque modern detective fodder peppering cable and network television these days, “Detective Calzone.”

The collection opened with its strongest offering in “Melville.” Director/screenwriter James M. Johnston’s “Melville” is a meditation on how we choose, or not choose, to say what needs to be said.

Primary actor Rodney “F. Stokes” Lucas really delivers two strong performances in his zen-like 15 minutes of screen time (this also happens to be the longest of the shorts).

It’s also nice to see the Spanish language represented in this collection with “Carne Seca.” Director/screenwriter Jazmin Diaz grapples with machismo, family violence, poverty and rapidly coming of age in an explosive 11 minutes.

The quality, thought and effort put into each short is impressive. Commitment, disconnection, dwindling resources, a difficult negotiation, budding sexuality and boredom are distillations of the other offerings’ subject matter.

Texas Shorts can be seen again at the Topfer at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and at the Vimeo at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.



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