The Shuttle

By Lu Han | Drama
A nail salon owner suspects her husband is having an affair with one of her employees.

Nail salon owner Wenhua is dealing with miscarriage after miscarriage, unable to carry a child to term. Meanwhile her husband — who shuttles the salon employees back and forth from their homes to their workplace — may be sleeping with one of her younger employees, who has a secret of her own.

Writer-director Lu Han offers a piercing, intimate look at the emotional life of a couple who have come to the U.S. and established the foothold of a better life, but are struggling with the next step of building a family together.

The film is built on strong, sensitively calibrated performances, which often underplay the roiling emotions and situations the characters are dealing with. The approach celebrates the everyday interactions, glances, silences and gestures that actually build or destroy our relationships, turning what could be melodrama into a beautifully observed chamber piece.

When the film’s main character suspects all is not right in the workplace she runs or the marriage she’s trying to hold together, she has a choice to either turn to bitterness or grow towards compassion. Lead actor Alice Ko charts Wenhua’s arc with precision, and the result in an honest journey into one woman’s grappling with the truth and what that means for the life she and her husband have built for themselves in the U.S.

It also offers a window in the workings of a seemingly innocuous space that most Americans take for granted. Nail salons are everywhere, whether in the strip malls of suburbia or nestled on the corners of busy streets. They’re tucked away and often busy, thanks to their cheap prices and quick service.

But Lu Han adds complexity to the picture, showing the hard work and behind-the-scenes struggles of the people who run them. Combined with the tense emotional drama deftly portrayed in the film, the salon becomes a pressure cooker: a trap, as well as an opportunity to progress in life.

The result is a film that’s not just about one woman’s shift in how she sees herself and her marriage, but a rich examination of what it means to be in a community and find emotional sustenance in it. At the film’s end, nothing concrete is resolved — but each character finds a different understanding of what it means to care and be responsible for one another.




You Might Also Like:

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Discipline

By Christophe M. Saber | Comedy
A father slaps a disobedient child. Then a bystander threatens to report him for abuse.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Lost and Found (The Oscars)

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time-loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.

Garfield (Sundance)

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy.

Partners (Sundance)

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's sex life is in a slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship.

Spoetnik

By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man works in a food truck, across from a brothel with a girl who needs his help.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A young woman finds a one-night stand. But he lives 2 hours away via public transit.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.