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Eight is enough 


In 2000 the United Nations committed to eight Millennium Development Goals, an effort to halve world poverty by 2015. The goals are lofty: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, combat HIV/AIDS, reduce child mortality, and so on. In an effort to shine a spotlight on these MDGs, eight directors offer eight short films, illuminating each of the goals, in the film 8.

As with any collection of shorts with wildly divergent visions, it’s going to be a mixed bag, even when there is a shared intent. Gaspar Noë’s short on AIDS is probably the most effective, a heartbeat on the soundtrack as we see various close-ups of a man and hear a voice-over, presumably from the same man, talking about his AIDs-related illnesses. Harrowing, but powerful. Jane Campion’s story of a drought on a farm in the outback was both sad and funny, and actor-director Gael Garcia Bernal’s Iceland-set tale of the positive effect of education was very sweet. The others were alternatively forgettable and heavy-handed, however laudable their motives. Regine Abadia’s story of pregnancy complications in the Peruvian Amazon had some interesting directorial choices, but it didn’t move me.

The most disappointing of all was probably Wim Wenders’ infomercial for microfinancing. Having been reminded of the German director's talent over the weekend while revisiting Paris, Texas, I was especially frustrated with his effort. I should have gone to Wings of Desire.

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