Even if audiences are suffering from Holocaust fatigue due to the plethora of Shoah films that have appeared in the past few months, “Toyland” is worthy of attention. Like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (or even Sophie’s Choice), Jochen Alexander Freydank’s short focuses on the decisions parents make to protect their children. A German, non-Jewish kid goes missing; while his mother searches, flashbacks reveal his trajectory.
For Proustian madeleines of loss and remembrance, there’s Kunio Katô’s “La Maison en Petits Cubes,” a tale of an old man living in a house submerged beneath the waves (our worst global-warming fears realized?) who revisits old rooms and recalls his dead wife. The short may be a world away from current trends in Japanese CGI and anime, but no matter. The coloring is superb: Under the waves the world is muted, but memories flood in with vivid hues.
Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont’s “Manon on the Asphalt,” however, travels in the opposite direction. Instead of Manon (Aude Léger) seeing her life flash before her eyes during an accident, she narrates future events: the things she’ll never do, the apartment that will be discovered with breakfast items left out. It’s a wonder that exquisitely realized tales like these have to share reels with the scatological likes of “Lavatory Lovestory” and “The Pig.”