This is the eighth in a series of DVDs designed to highlight short films and interactive content. Each issue is loosely curated according to a theme: Dreams, Utopia, Seduction, or, in this case, Vision. It's also divided into four sections: narrative, documentary, music, and spoken word. As with most short-film collections, there is a tendency here to try to appeal to everybody, which leads to an uneven mix that inevitably includes some clunkers. Though few of the pieces have anything to do with the theme of "Vision" (the needlessly interactive "Why Liberace?" is nothing more than a simplistic fan documentary, for example), a few of the shorts actually do (Amy Talkington's "Number One Fan" is about a photographer who likes to fake death scenes; "The Cinema Ticket" is about a boy trying to save money to go to a movie).
The reason you want to rent this collection is to see Charles Stone III's "True." It's the short film that landed him the oft-parodied "Whassup?!" Budweiser commercial. (In this one he's watching the game but not having a Bud!) Then again, the reason you really ought to buy this collection is for the little-seen "Tag der Freiheit (Day of Freedom)," Leni Riefenstahl's follow-up to her Nazi propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. Because her filmmaking is so good and so universal, and because the Nazis lost, her films actually work as a critique of the whole concept of propaganda. The short includes a commentary track by Robert von Dassanowksy, Ph.D., who defends Riefenstahl with a feminist reading of her films and her career. --Andy Spletzer