It was Valentine’s Day. The wife and I had a long-standing commitment for a child sitter, and movie passes for The Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Obviously, my grandiose plan to see more Academy Award films had put aside in the past two weeks, so seeing a nominee was my preference. But what? She didn’t want to see True Grit. Watching Blue Valentine, a movie about a disintegrating romance, didn’t seem quite right. Nor did seeing separate movies – she wants to see The Social Network, I The Black Swan.
So we decided to see five movies instead, those Oscar-nominated for best live action short films. The descriptions are from Oscar.com.
The Confession – Tanel Toom (UK-25 minutes)
“A young boy preparing for his first confession worries that he has no sins to report, so he enlists a friend’s help in committing one.”
And it’s a pretty minor one, actually, but one that has consequences. Moody, with a bunch of pointed symbolism, well acted, especially the lead boy. I’m told it’s got the Oscar buzz. A brief clip.
Wish 143 – Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite (UK-24 minutes)
“When a terminally ill young boy is granted a wish by a charitable foundation, he makes a surprising request.”
Actually, he’s an older boy, though not an adult, and what he wants is not to die a virgin, which is a bit of a conumdrum to his priest friend. It has humor and pathos, and it was my favorite of the five. A clip.
Na Wewe– Ivan Goldschmidt (Belgium-19 minutes)
“In 1994, as the Rwandan genocide spills over into neighboring Burundi, a bus is attacked by a group of rebels.”
Very tense; I was awaiting the slaughter, yet imdb called it a comedy? Well, maybe a subtle comedy. Na Wewe means You Too in Kirundi. Looks like the kind of film the Academy would like. A clip.
The Crush -Michael Creagh (Ireland-15 minutes)
“Eight-year-old Ardal has a crush on his teacher and is devastated to learn she has a fiancé.”
And Ardal finds the fiancé unworthy and calls him out. My wife’s favorite film. A clip.
God of Love – Luke Matheny (US-18 minutes)
“A love triangle between two musicians and a young woman takes a surprising turn when one of them finds a collection of magical darts.”
Appropriate for Valentine’s day, though probably the most lightweight of the five. Feels Woody Allenesque somehow. The trailer.
Unsurprisingly, all of the filmmakers are first-time nominees. “The Academy’s entire active membership is eligible to select Oscar winners in all categories, although in five – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only after attesting they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.”