Heart Issues

By Guy Lichtenstein | Comedy
A shop owner deals with his playboy friend's affairs. Then 2 women show up at once...

Doni is a playboy and a ladies man who has disappeared, leaving his friend Sganarell behind. Sganarell runs a small tobacco shop in town, where he organizes and takes care of Doni’s affairs, including dealing with the fallout of Doni’s many paramours.

But one day two women show up at the same time in the tobacco shop. Isabelle pops in, and then her romantic rival Charlotte does as well. The two women don’t know one another, and Doni’s best friend would like to keep it that way. But the shop’s close quarters — and the ardent affection of the two rivals — may get in the way.

Writer-director Guy Lichtenstein’s comedic short has a farcically awkward situation at its center, as the shopkeeper struggles to keep his friend’s romantic whirlwind aloft without crashing too many of its more delicate elements into one another.

In the hands of a less assured and clumsier filmmaker, such a set-up would be whipped into a froth of farce or slapstick. But here, it’s executed with a sense of discerning understatement and wry intelligence that elevates it into a sharply amusing portrait of one friend cleaning up another’s mess — and perhaps learning the limits of his loyalty.

As far as comedies go, it’s fairly muted, hitting its comic moments with a lightness and even delicacy of touch. The approach isn’t overly silly or overplayed, thanks to a tight script studded with small but telling character moments, brought to life by perceptive, understated performances all around. Like many comedies, the heart of the drama is all about awkwardness, but while a different comedic approach would warp the characters into caricatures of themselves, Sganarell here rarely loses his smooth equanimity in dealing with a potentially disastrous situation. There’s a cool professionalism that he’s developed from being Doni’s friend and perhaps cleaning up his personal messes over the year — which in and of itself is a funny comment.

The emphasis on subtlety extends to the film’s sense of craftsmanship, which is actually quite beautiful, though it never parades its excellence as a distraction from the story. The camerawork and cinematography have a warmly tasteful, natural look and feel that never sacrifices its restraint, even when things get sticky for Sganarell. As the two women and rivals for Doni’s affections realize just who the other is, Sganarell must extricate himself out of a complex web — a situation he handles with a surprising equanimity and some quick thinking.

“Heart Issues” is less a joke that pays off with a punchline, and more like a funny anecdote that you’d hear at a bar, laughing over life’s foibles over a few drinks. As a comedy of errors, it works because it feels a lot like life itself, and the knotty, outlandish situations we can get into — because people are weird, love is even weirder and sometimes our friends drive us crazy.




You Might Also Like:

Brentwood

By Sharon Everitt | Comedy
A Star Trek actor tries to one-up his co-star in his return to Hollywood.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

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

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.



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.