Oscar Nominated Short Live Action Films
These small five films define why I am a passionate movie fan.
You movie fans should do yourself a big favor and track down this year’s Oscar nominated short live action films. Far better than the animated shorts, they cover a lot of ground and two will likely bring tears to your eyes.
The first of the five to appear on screen, Ave Maria, is a sarcastic comedy that many pick to win the Oscar. Though I don’t share that pick, it provides a caustic view of a fundamentalist Jewish family that has a car accident in front of a Catholic convent where all of the nuns have taken a vow of silence. The film takes place on the West Bank in Israel, and the pleasure is derived from the fact that the drivers’ girlfriend and mother, both of whom are passengers, can’t stand each other. Their blistering attacks are a throwback to the Archie and Edith Bunker days in TVs All in the Family (1971-1979).
The weakest as well as longest entry (30 minutes) is Everything Will Be Okay, a German film about a divorced father who is trying to fly to India with his small daughter after having been denied custody. The father is obviously a decent man driven to despair, and it is easy to see from this film how very good people can do very bad things.
The most enchanting movie is entitled Stutterer, a tale of a young man with a terrible speech impediment that makes him too embarrassed to appear in public. His interaction with a young woman online results in her request to meet, and that leads to one of the most charming encounters that you will see in any film this year.
However, I am convinced that the Oscar in this category will come down to either Shok or Day One. The former will leave you with a bruised heart while the latter will leave you, like me, wiping away tears at its ending.
Shok is a firsthand view of a Kosovan families being forced to leave their homes by Serbian troops who resemble Nazis in their darkest moment. A bicycle becomes a metaphor for life as you watch two 10-year-old boys try to live like kids at the point of a gun. The ending will make you question anyone who claims that human beings are the highest evolved form of life on this planet.
In Day One, you follow an Afghan/American woman who is experiencing her first day as an interpreter for U.S. troops. As they hunt down an individual thought to be providing munitions to the Taliban, an arrest is made only to discover that his wife is about to deliver a child.
As the interpreter seeks to comfort the man’s young daughter as she is forced to attempt to aid in a birth where she has no experience, everyone on screen and in the audience experiences the same frantic state of disbelief. You simply need to see the film and I will let the ending rest in your watery eyes.
In any event, I pick Day One to win the Oscar, and Director Henry Hughes deserves that award. This is the last film on screen of the five nominees, and I strongly suspect that you will remain in your seat for a few minutes to collect your emotions before leaving the theater.