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SHORT 10: Chaos

The 10th installment of Warner Brothers' quarterly SHORT DVD series offers an array of short films from the U.S., Hungary, Australia and Turkey. Each volume's films are tied together by a common theme (like vision, utopia, authority, or invention) but this volume's theme, "chaos," is a tenuous connection at best — one is hard-pressed to discern chaos as having much to do with any of the films presented here. No matter. The big hairy deal about SHORT 10 is the world DVD premiere of George Lucas' student film Electronic Labyrinth, the 15-minute short that eventually became his first feature-length film, THX 1138. Lucas made this short as a film student at USC in 1967, and it is undoubtedly a very, very good student film for the time — Lucas exhibits confidence in his demonstration of various film techniques (lap dissolve, split screen, superimposed text, tight close-ups of brightly flashing buttons), which is pretty much the whole point of a student film. Seeing Lucas' film-school project may warrant admission to this SHORT installment, but several other fairly good shorts are on board as well, including A Short Film About Bad Animals, the multi-award winning Five Feet High and Rising, the Oscar-winnining animation The Fly, Still Revolutionaries, a look at two women members of the Black Panther Party, and more. Picture quality depends on the film in question — some of the films' features were shot on 8mm or 16mm, while others are highly professional in quality. Electronic Labyrinth undoubtedly could have been cleaned up quite a bit, but it looks like no one bothered. Various audio formats, various commentaries and other supplements. Snap-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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