Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Nominated Short Films

The theater I saw this at was showing it on DVD input to he projection – this may be the reason all the films had a decidedly greyed out look to them.

Short (Live)

Om natten (At Night)
The story of 3 girls in an end of the line cancer ward on New Years Eve, their stories and how they try to cope with their situation. The film is antiseptic in its look as one would expect from the location with its florescence, metal surfaces and white accoutrement. We know from the start that the one girl with the jet black hair will cause the problems. The whole thing is packed with emotion and the acting from the three girls is superb but the pacing keeps you in their way too long for my tastes (not a hospital person). This is the longest of the shorts at 39 min, from denmark and produced by Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa.

Il Supplente (The Substitute)
An Italian comedy with a twist. The film opens on a montage of images in a high school and brings us into a class where we are introduced to the new substitute teacher who proceeds to play with the students turning their stereotypical roles against them (kiss up, arty poet, dumb jock, ect). In the middle of this the principal comes in asking who this man is… he apologizes and jumps out the window. Then we follow him to see he is a business man working in a building overlooking the school while a voice over talks about the need to break out of adult thinking. Once in a meeting with his boss a new situation presents itself… will he use this new found mischievous streak or cave to the corporate pressure? This is a fun little film that floats by quickly. (17 min)

Les Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)
A charming little film (how can it not be with that title) about a couple of affable tramps who find themselves with a deaf-mute (or maybe he just doesn’t know French) tag along after a pick pocketing attempt goes wrong. They realize they can use him to make some cash… but that turns out badly. Then the kid makes an unexpected haul in a theater due to his ability to crawl under the seats (checked my coat at this point). They celebrate and expand their operation until a stupid mistake on the part of one of the tramps lands them all in the slammer. This is a well shot and edited short that gets its story across in 31 minutes and I think will be the winner tonight.

Tanghi Argentini
This feels more like a super bowl commercial than a short film (though that is often a blurred line). This is the shortest of the films at 14 minutes and tells the tale of a Belgian office worker who makes a date online for Tango! In two weeks… you guessed it he doesn’t know how to tango. So he begs a fellow office worker to teach him… the office worker is a 6’ 3” bald guy – but a former tango master. Cue montage. We get to the big night and the dance is going great till she leans in to kiss him and he drops her. Feeling sad he heads off to the bar with the teacher. We see the woman sad at their table and he says that the teacher should make her happy by asking her to dance, which goes quite well. The next day the teacher comes to the office thanking the man and after walking away we find hi break out a sheet of paper with the names of all their coworkers and he crosses the teachers name off! It’s an office cupid! This is the best looking of the shorts with the camera and edits replicating the motion of the dancers on screen. But as I said it kind of feels like a long commercial instead of a short film.

The Tonto Woman
A short from the UK, filmed in Spain, replicating the American Old West, this is easily the worst of the offerings. The plot is of a cattle thief who stumbles upon a naked woman in out in the desert range. She is white but her jaw is covered in the Native American tattoos of a skwa. He finds that she was kidnapped shortly after marriage by Indians and held for 11 years before her husband was able to get her back. She is now kept in this shack on his ranch away from polite society and he cannot even look at her. The cattle thief gets her a dress and takes her out for dinner enamored with her beauty and strength. Of course it all ends in a gunfight (off screen) between the husband’s men and the thief. The acting in the film is BAD, very, very bad. The characters are badly lit and the whole 35 minutes is just painful… have no idea how this got a nomination. Should have nominated Spider instead.

No comments: