One of my favorite events is coming up on Sunday, February 26, 2017, the 89th Academy Awards. That means that it’s also time for the Oscar-nominated short films to come to theatres. The Live Action Short Films and the Animated Short Films programs will be playing in theatres starting Friday, February 10th.
The live-action shorts are often springboards to feature film careers, and a number of short films have later been turned into full feature films. The animated shorts are a delight to watch and can run the gamut of traditional animation to incredible groundbreaking techniques.
Here are my reviews for the Short Film (Live Action) category in order of who I think will win:
Timecode – dir. Juanjo Gimenez Pena, Spain, 15 minutes
Two security guards (Lali Ayguadé, Nicolas Ricchini), one works the day shift, and the other one works the night shift, find out by chance that they have something in common, the love of dance. I loved this film that slowly reveals that both security guards love to dance. The film moves at a perfect pace, and the ending is both funny and touching. The use of the security cameras to help tell the narrative is creative and works well with the storyline. I was smiling as the film finished and I think you will too. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again.
Sing – dir. Kristof Deak, Hungary, 25 minutes
A young girl (Dorka Gáspárfalvi) is new at school. She learns that they have an award winning choir and joins up almost immediately. The school is proud of their choir and that anyone can join. The young girl learns that looks can be deceiving. Gáspárfalvi is fantastic in the role of the shy but determined girl. The story moves at a good pace, and it treats its subject matter with love for the spunky girl who just wanted to sing. My Rating: Full Price
La Femme et la TGV – dir. Timo von Gunten, Switzerland, 30 minutes
Elise (Jane Birkin) has a routine that she has been following for years; she waves a flag out her window at the express train that passes her house. One day she finds a letter from the train conductor in her garden, and her whole world is turned upside down. She decides to write back, and her lonely life has blossomed. This is a small, fantastic film that slowly moves along with just the right touches of whimsy. Birkin gives a marvelous performance as the lonely lady who starts corresponding with a stranger. What makes this film even better for the romantics in all of us is that it is based on a true story. My Rating: Full Price
Silent Nights – dir. Aske Bang, Denmark, 30 minutes
Much to the disdain of her alcoholic mother, Inger volunteers at a soup kitchen for homeless immigrants. She meets one of the immigrants and very quickly falls for him. Will their love be stronger than the obstacles that life puts in front of them? More happens in 30 minutes than in some full-length dramas. I liked both leads, and their chemistry is evident on screen. What I didn’t like about this film is that the immigrant in the love story is not a likable person as he takes advantage of a young, naive young woman, making not want to root for this couple to succeed. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
Ennemis Interieurs – dir. Selim Aazzazi, France, 28 minutes
An interview at a local police station turns into an inquisition during which a French-Algerian born man sees himself accused of protecting the identities of possible terrorists. What he thought was going to be a relaxed and easy process for getting permeant residency turns into a day of pain for the man. While relevant and very timely, the film felt longer than its 28 minutes. It moves a too slow a pace, and I didn’t like how the film uses flashbacks almost as a crutch. The film needed more intensity and tension, without those qualities, the film seems one long scene. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The Academy Awards in on Sunday, Feb. 26.