e street film society

Short Reviews of Short Movies 2015

The World of Tomorrow

17th Annual Animation Show of Shows

By Daniel Barnes

I’ll take any opportunity to urge people towards the seventeen life-changing minutes of Don Herzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow, so here we go again. I wrote this about World of Tomorrow in my 2015 mid-year review: “It’s a beautiful and thought-provoking piece of work, equally hopeless and life-affirming, dire and playful and powerful all at once.”

For a while, it was only available to watch on Vimeo and in sporadic festival showings, but now it’s the crown jewel of the 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows, a traveling festival that curates eleven animated shorts from around the world.  The Show of Shows recently played week-long runs in San Francisco and Berkeley, and on October 30 it plays the charming Lark Theater in Larkspur.

World of Tomorrow is strategically situated in the anchor leg of the festival, almost as though to ensure against early walkouts, but the rest of the program is extremely strong, all killer and no filler. A few of the shorts even rival World of Tomorrow, among them the whimsy and melancholy of the Seuss-ian nursery rhyme The Story of Percival Pilts, the graphic novel compositions of the missed connection romance Snowfall, the batty energy and paper-hat anarchy of Messages Dans L’Air. Best of all: the clean visual and narrative lines of the heartbreaking We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, a story of Russian cosmonauts joined by an unspoken love, and torn apart by tragedy.

These are some of the most emotionally and intellectually satisfying movie experiences I had in 2015.

Read more of Daniel’s reviews at Dare Daniel and Rotten Tomatoes, and listen to Daniel on the Dare Daniel podcast.