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Filmmaker Amy Talkington's Human-Snake Love Triangle

Oddball boy meets oddball girl is a fairly common short-film subject, but it’s always nice when a six-foot snake gets thrown into the mix, too. In Amy Talkington’s touching and playful 1998 short Second Skin a mopey pet-store employee (Glenn Fitzgerald, currently Brian Darling on Dirty Sexy Money) doesn’t quite know what to do when a lovely, rebellious girl (Aleksa Palladino, who can also be seen in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) comes into his shop and purchases the python he’s been doting over. Hating to see his beloved snake go, he follows the girl outside and impulsively boards her bus. Major props also to the two leads, who invest their quirky characters with a remarkable degree of humanity, despite having relatively little dialogue. You may be hearing a lot from director Talkington soon: Her new feature Night of the White Pants, starring Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, and Selma Blair, played Tribeca last year and will be hitting screens in 2008, and her short Our First Sex Tape currently has over 2 million plays over at AtomFilms. —Bilge Ebiri