There’s something clandestine about slipping into a darkened theater in the middle of your workday. At Monday’s Brown Bag Shorts, a new feature at the Tacoma Film Festival, the escape was complete: short trips into other worlds from a fanatic baseball collector to a couple of Irishmen making viral Vines to the gritty world of ballet. None lasted longer than 12 minutes, and all repeat at lunchtime Wednesday — the perfect excuse to bring your lunch to a movie.
All five shorts focused the lens on people with extraordinary passions. In “War” a gang fight is set up only to turn into a chef faceoff — pretty cheesy but fun to watch, with all the quick-cut closeups of the genre. “Reborn” took a close, agonizing look at Lauren Cuthbertson, principal dancer at the UK’s Royal Ballet, as she narrated a story of broken feet and torn muscles in a deadpan voice while her body slowly contorted with a can’t-believe-she’s-bending-like-that grace.
“Gone Viral” went behind the scenes of viral Vine-making Irishmen Eddie Whelan and Senan Byrne (the Fupin Eejits) in a weird mix of conversation and documentary. “The Curator” shone with Clyde Doepner’s sheer passion at being the only full-time curator in Major League Baseball, and “Concerning the Bodyguard” matched eerily still footage of an anonymous foreign dictator and his protectors with the gripping text by Donald Barthelme and a haunting performance of Erik Satie’s “Gnossiennes” on glockenspiel.
And a bonus: free lemon bars and Nutella brownies to munch on, in case you forget your lunch.
The Brown Bag Shorts Group A repeats at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at The Grand Cinema, 608 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma. The festival continues through Thursday: tacomafilmfestival.com.