By turns exhilarating and devastating, the 2013 live-action short film lineup serves as a reminder of why movies matter, what they can do, and why they needn't be larded up into three-hour epics that hit all the expected beats. Every entry confronts the blunt fact of death; every entry provides a vital and honest response to that fact. The French-Canadian entry "Henry," a smart, gorgeous account of love and loss, is perhaps the most accomplished, and also the saddest. The entries from Somalia ("Asad") Afghanistan ("Buzkashi Boys") give us boys for whom coming-of-age means coming-to-grips, while the US ("Curfew") and France/Belgium ("Death of a Shadow") give us men for whom love is literally a matter of life and death. Program hosted by last year's winner, Luke Matheny ("God of Love"). (2013) — Matthew Lickona
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