Oscar Nominated Short Films

5 Mar

My local independant theatre showed the 5 live-action short films nominated for this year’s Academy Awards and I just saw them (chimay!) and they were great (mostly). First, we had Kavi:

Kavi is the story of a young Indian boy (Kavi) who is trapped in modern-day slavery making mud bricks, and who never gets to play cricket. Poor Kavi! This short was sentimental and a little boring. Also confusing. Kavi had a plant that he was taking care of, just a regular potted plant, but he and his parents kept referring to some kind of ‘cow’ inside the plant and/or pot. Huh? I don’t know. Maybe I missed something. Posssibly because the older woman in front of me got a phone call two minutes in, answered it to say “I’m in a movie!” then preceeded to chat for a few minutes, then hung up and chewed her popcorn very loudly while also throwing the unpopped kernals on the floor which landed with a loud tink! What I’m saying is, that woman sucked. Kavi was okay, but definitely my least favorite of the night.

Next up was The New Tenants which was great times a million. It’s from Denmark but all the actors were Americans (including Vincent D’Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan, aka Goon from Buffalo ’66) which was weird but also cool. It’s about two guys who discover the apartment they recently moved into was host to some pretty grim stuff which comes back to haunt them. Also cinnamon rolls. It was Tarantio-esque in its banter and violence, and was just fun and absurd to watch. Great stuff.

Miracle Fish from Australia was up next, mate (Australia joke). After waking up in the nurse’s office after a nap, a schoolboy discovers that he may be the only person left on earth (or at least his school). It was kinda cute and kinda sad and then just very sad. I liked it though, very interesting to think about once it’s all over, and they did a great job of manipulating the mood from ‘oh this is great!’ to ‘maybe this is just creepy.’

Miracle Fish

Ireland’s The Door was next, which was set in Russia and was about a family effected by Chernobyl. It was quite sad, as you can imagine. The photography was beautiful and it was interesting that they didn’t tell you explicitly that it was Chernobyl until it was over.

The Door

Lastly, there was Instead of Abracadabra from Sweden, which was actually in Swedish(!). It’s about a guy who wants to be a magician but is a bit mental and also bad at being a magician. I could tell right from the start I was going to enjoy this one, as it’s similar to the humor of Eagle vs. Shark with a little Gob Bluth from Arrested Development thrown in. Very funny and light-hearted (finally! Oscar short films, you are a depressing bunch), it was a great short to end on.

You can buy the films from iTunes for $2 each if you can’t see them in a theatre, and I’d highly recommend both The New Tenants and Instead of Abracadabra. Definitely more worth $2 than that microwave burrito you were going to buy for lunch.

Grade(s): Kavi: C+; The New Tenants: A; Miracle Fish: B; The Door: B-; Instead of Abracadabra: A-

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