Oscar-nominated Short Documentaries
Yesterday afternoon it was back to the art-house cinema to catch this year's nominated short documentaries. Here's the rundown:
"Cave Digger" - A man spends his time digging caves which are real works of art. This one had the region buzzing since it was filmed here in NM. The guy works in soft sandstone between here and Taos and essentially creates art mines. He digs into the rock and then sculpts out fanciful rooms. While his work is beautiful, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth especially when one of his friends was in the theater and begged for donations so that his work could continue. Uh...no. He turned down paying gigs from rich Taos folks because he didn't like patrons interfering with his vision. If you're so damn poor, how do you and your wife live on acreage up in that part of the state? Land is very pricey.
"Facing Fear" - A young skinhead curb-stomps a young gay man and nearly kills him. He repents and years later gets a job at L.A.'s Tolerance Museum. The museum director turns out to be that gay man. A very interesting tale of redemption and forgiveness. It has a shot at winning, but there was a better film nominated.
"Karama Has No Walls" - An on-the-spot record of a brutal attack during an "Arab Spring" uprising in Yemen. This felt more like a news story than a documentary. It's brutally honest, however, with video footage of people getting shot in the streets and the aftermath at area hospitals.
"The Lady in #6" - A 109-year old Jewish woman tells her tale of how she escaped the Holocaust through music. Normally I joke every year that no matter what is nominated, a movie about the Holocaust will always win. In this case, it would be justified. Her story is so beautiful especially since she is so passionately in love with music. Her talent allowed her to survive since she was always in demand to entertain the Nazis. My pick to win.
"Prison Terminal" - The story of a dying prisoner serving a life term for murder. This movie was not focused enough. If the story was about the old man dying, it was a failure. I watched my father die. I didn't need to watch some stranger in prison die. The more interesting aspect was the hospice that was created to care for dying prisoners since it was set up and run by other prisoners. That was surreal in its own right because here you had people who killed other people and now they were treating death with respect. Obviously, too late!