Bonello’s reputation rests largely on the remarkable string of features he has produced in the past 15 years. But it’s in his short films, arguably, that Bonello has given the most free rein to his skills as a regional filmmaker, a humorist, and a personal essayist. The shorts included here, most of them very seldom screened in the U.S., range from autobiographical reverie (Où en êtes-vous, Bertrand Bonello?) to emotionally charged chamber drama (Cindy: The Doll Is Mine and Where the Boys Are).

Cindy: The Doll Is Mine
Bertrand Bonello, France, 2005, 15m

Les Inrocks called Bonello’s beguiling tribute to Cindy Sherman “a short masterpiece that weaves its way through cross-currents with electrifying fluidity.” Asia Argento plays both Sherman and her blonde subject, who engage in a game of cat and mouse over the course of the film in the photographer’s studio—an interaction Bonello captures in a wily series of shot/reverse shots.

Where the Boys Are
Bertrand Bonello, France, 2010, 35mm, 21m

French with English subtitles
The Connie Francis song that gives Bonello’s recent short its title also gives the movie’s characters—a group of teenage girls in a Paris flat, dreaming about the well-built men doing construction on a mosque across the street—one of their primary points of emotional connection. Bonello’s most direct look at the significance of race, class, and faith in contemporary Paris, Where the Boys Are is also one of his finest studies of how love—and longing—affect the young.

Where Are You, Bertrand Bonello? / Où en êtes-vous, Bertrand Bonello?
Bertrand Bonello, France, 2014, digital projection, 17m
French with English subtitles

“Why don’t you make films like Peter Jackson?” Bonello’s most recent short, made on the occasion of his recent retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, finds the director in an unexpected, gratifying mood of introspection. An autobiographical essay film structured as a letter to the director’s young daughter, Où en êtes-vous, Bertrand Bonello? weaves clips from Bonello’s films, excerpts from his scripts, pop songs, and snippets of original footage into a lyrical, reflexive cinematic self-portrait.