Oscar-nominated Live-Action Shorts
It's that time of year again! Time for our local art-house theater to show all of the Oscar nominees in obscure categories. These are movies that rarely see the light of day to the general public, but pack a lot of punch in a short period of time. I really really love this category. One of the shockers this year was that there was no entry from the U.S. Here are the reviews:
"That Wasn't Me" (Spain)- A couple that rescue children soldiers in Africa are captured by a rebel group of those soldiers. A film with high production values with graphic scenes of torture, rape, and murder. What's extra shocking is knowing that this stuff occurs in Africa all of the time. I would predict a win here, but it might be too much for some folks to take.
"Just Before Losing Everything" (France) - A woman plots an escape for her and her children from an abusive father. I wasn't sure where this movie was going at first. It seemed to be a typical European film with lots of slow shots that don't seem to advance the plot. It does build, however, to a climax where you find yourself on the edge of your seat. This could be the sleeper in this category.
"Helium" (Denmark) - A dying boy befriends a hospital cleaning person who tells him about a magical land where he will go when he dies. This was definitely the tear-jerker of this year's entries. Very high production values and a truly wonderful story. Yeah. I lost it at the end. Possibly the winner, but tear-jerkers haven't fared well in previous years.
"Do I have to Take Care of Everything?" (Finland) - A family struggles to get to a wedding with hysterical consequences. This one had most of the theater in stitches. I cracked up when the mother forgets to wash her daughters' fancy dresses, so she tells them to wear nice clothes like they were going to a party. They come out in Halloween costumes. I'm not sure how Hollywood will appreciate all of the humor.
"The Voorman Problem" (England) - A psychiatrist goes to a prison to interview an inmate who claims to be God. Well...perhaps he is! Maybe we're all insane! Who knows?!? A comedy that will make you think. Since Hollywood hates to think, this doesn't stand a chance.