Halloween exists in theory, and sometimes in practice to provide a socially acceptable, once-a-year outlet for the citizenry to confront its fears and embrace its mortality. The holiday also grants license, for those who need it, to venture through the looking glass into alternate, and altered, states of mind. The annual Halloweird edition of Microcinemas Independent Exposure series of stunning shorts from around the world is the visual equivalent of taking a pickaxe to a panoply of peculiar psyches. The mysterious organ-propelled music video Loka Tabernacle 1 conjures levitating chairs and people, while the entrancing Tralala combines the dreamy movements of a trio of British dancers with dreamlike stop-motion animation. One stranger after another passionately embraces the statuesque French beauty of By the Kiss, taking as much as they give in a haunting metaphor for the vampirism of love affairs. The fast-paced program abounds with astonishing craft and eerie ambiguity, but theres also plenty of evil humor. The excruciatingly hilarious Fantaisie in Bubblewrap masterfully enlists our empathy for anthropomorphized bubbles slaughtered by an anonymous, unfeeling human. Nothing says Halloween like pained laughter.
Wed., Oct. 29, 8 p.m., 2008