If you ever have been in an Oscar pool, your downfall can often be the short films. If you get the chance in the next couple of weeks, I would recommend going to see the animated shorts. Here's an article describing each one, both animated and live action:
See and enjoy all the Oscar short-film nominees in Providence
01:00 AM EST on Friday, February 11, 2011
By Michael Janusonis
Journal Arts Writer
I’ve just seen all 10 of the short films nominated for an Academy Award this year and I’m glad I’m not voting.
Choosing one film from the five live-action shorts and one from the five animated shorts would be almost impossible. Just about every one of them is worthy of an Oscar statuette.
You can judge them all for yourself beginning Friday, Feb. 11, at the Cable Car Cinema where all 10 will be on screen (although separately in live-action or animation programs). It’s not often that the public gets a chance to see the short-film Academy Award nominees, so go, enjoy and then see how your favorites come out when the awards are announced Feb. 27. The shorts run between 8 and 15 minutes in length.
Actually, many of you have already seen “Day and Night,” the whimsical film that personifies both Daytime and Nighttime and pits them against each other in a tug of war over control of every 24-hour cycle. It was shown at the start of “Toy Story 3.”
Quite different is the pointed political satire “Let’s Pollute” which turns the “green” bandwagon on its head. Bold graphics are employed as everyone is urged, ironically, to make a mess of the planet by filling up landfills and buying into the corporate mantra of “buy more; throw away more.” The underlying message, of course, is quite the opposite, although it may be more true than those “going green” slogans.
At the other end of the spectrum, both in theme and artistry, is Bastien Duboir’s “Madagascar — A Journey Diary.” Done in a variety of styles — watercolors, pen and ink, rotoscope — the film follows a tourist who has been invited to a far-off village festival called “the turning of the dead people,” which celebrates the departed. The drawings, especially the panoramas of landscapes, are gorgeous.
“The Gruffalo” is a charming computer-animated fairy tale in which a mother squirrel tells her two youngsters a continuing fable about a mouse and how it cleverly outsmarts one predator after the next — a fox, an owl, a snake — by telling each in turn that it is waiting to meet the Gruffalo, a fearsome creature whose favorite food is fox, owl or snake, depending on which is hearing the mouse’s story. Of course the mouse realizes that there is no such thing as a Gruffalo until … yipes!
Then there’s the offbeat, truly inventive “The Lost Thing,” in which a young man finds a “lost thing” on the beach and, taking pity on it, tries to get it back to its rightful place. The thing looks like a giant red boiler, but with a lot of little doors from which slithering tentacles occasionally emerge. There’s also something on it that looks like a whirling fan and odd appendages that sort of look like wings, but with little bells hanging from their bottoms. Strangely, the creature becomes a sympathetic figure and we empathize with the young man as he dauntlessly tries to find it a home.
The live-action category offers an equally divergent array of subjects. In “The Confession,” young Sam and Jacob are fretting about what sin they could come up with that would be worthy of telling when making their first confession. But then they commit a prank that involves a scarecrow and the resulting horrific tragedy certainly is confession worthy, but dare they confess their bad deed to the parish priest in the confessional? This is an explosive little drama that packs a punch.
In the Irish-made “The Crush,” a 9-year-old boy who has a crush on his teacher feels crushed when he discovers that she has a boyfriend. His way of rectifying this unwelcome situation, involving a gun, is tense and hold-your-breath scary, with unexpected results.
Possibly even more unexpected are what happens in the quirky “God of Love.” Luke Matheny, who wrote and directed, also stars as Raymond Goodfellow, who sings in nightclubs while tossing darts into a dartboard without missing a beat. He has a crush on a member of the band, but she’s interested in his best friend, who isn’t interested in her at all. Raymond gets his chance for love when a box arrives out of the blue containing a set of Love Darts. Hit someone with one and that person falls in love with the person who tossed the dart, but only for six hours unless the flame can be kept burning. This cupid-themed film seems perfect for Valentine’s Day.
On a totally different plane is the tension-packed Belgian film “No Wewe.” Set in the African nation of Burundi in 1994 at the height of the civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes, a group of travelers in a van are stopped by a gang of gun-wielding Hutus. They are forced out and told to declare whether they are Hutus or Tutsis. Being a Tutsi can end very badly. A sort of standoff ensues and in the end the travelers one by one try to get out of the web, until it comes down to one boy. It seems as though he will be killed unless unexpected events can save his life.
In “Wish 143,” a young man with a brain tumor is offered by a representative of Make-A-Wish to have his wish fulfilled. But David’s wish is to lose his virginity. How this is accomplished — or not — and with the help of the parish priest, is told with haunting poignancy and some humor.
****Oscar Nominated Short Films 2011
Rated: Not rated; the live-action program contains violence, adult themes, profanity.
Running time: 1:40 for live action; 1:05 for animation.
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I don't think so Bro, she's a Lady, Lady, Lady, Lady
No, no, she's a fish that's just a little bit