February 15th, 2017


Oscar-nominated Documentary Shorts

It was time for round 2 of the Oscar-nominated shorts yesterday. This time it was documentaries. Here's the breakdown:

"Extremis" - A snapshot of what goes on in the terminally ill ward of a hospital. Should you pull the plug? Should you live on machines? Is there quality of life? Doctors, patients, and family members all struggle with these questions in the last days of a person's life.

"4.1 Miles" - On the news we sometimes see video of the refugee crisis in Greece. For a captain of a Greek Coast Guard ship, he sees the reality day after day after day. It's really heartbreaking to see the plight of the refugees. My favorite image was of the coastline with hundreds and hundreds of life preservers washed up on the shore.

"Watani: My Homeland" - A family flees war-torn Syria for a new life in Germany. It seems as if this family had better contacts than others in the same situation. Their exile, while perhaps an emotional struggle, seems to go pretty smoothly, moreso than many that I have seen on the news. The children seem to adapt very well to their new life. It's much better than the shithole they left behind.

"Joe's Violin" - If my "Jewish Conspiracy Theory" holds true, this will be the winner. It certainly was the most uplifting of the nominees this year. A Holocaust survivor donates his violin to a girls' school in the Bronx where a poor girl learns to play his favorite song for him.

"The White Helmets" - This is my pick for winner. It follows the volunteers who respond to bombing attacks in Syria to rescue survivors. Frequently they themselves become the casualties. To me it just seemed like the best constructed with the best narrative of the nominees.