The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action (2013)
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If you're primed for the sudden shifts in tone, style, story and look, the payoff is one provocative and evocative film after another.
Although all technically accomplished, this year's batch of live-action shorts is more uneven.
In between these bookends are some fascinating and diverse offerings.
As unreliable as the Academy Awards may be at every possible level, it's a relief to encounter the 2013 Oscar-nominated shorts ...
Audience Reviews for The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
The five Oscar nominated live action shorts from 2012, each about 20 minutes long: a dead soldier works for a shadow collector in a steampunkish afterlife, an elderly composer struggles with his memories, a suicidal drug addict is pressed into watching the daughter of his estranged sister, two Afghani boys hope to grow up to play Buzkashi (a game played on horseback with a dead goat), and a Somali boy decides between becoming a pirate or a fisherman. Most of these films are melancholy dramas, with a little black humor in the USA's "Curfew" and a little magical realism in Belgium's "Death of a Shadow"; "Henry" (the Canadian composer's story) was emotionally devastating and my favorite, but the field is strong enough that almost everyone seems to favor a different one (though oddsmakers have made "Curfew" a huge favorite). A refreshing change of pace from feature films.
A wonderful collection of shorts that, for my third year seeing them, seemed a tad high-budget, but all very enjoyable. Also, there was not a comedic entry, which was unusual. All were dramatic and, frankly, depressing. However, the clear winner to me was "Henry." Not only was it the first short film to make me cry, but the story, acting and the way the film progressed and showed his mental deterioration, symbolically represented in lights turning off and moving from room to room, was just brilliant. It was a heartbreaking film and one of the best shorts I've ever seen. "Buzkashi Boys" was probably the best filmed, though, in the heart of Kabul. However, the story was a bit predictable and forced. The acting was so good, though. The unique "Death of a Shadow" was unlike any short I've seen nominated before, with what seemed to be an astronomical budget for such a short film. It almost seemed unfair. The bottom two for me were "Curfew," which is perhaps unfair too as it reflected what I'm used to in short films, which is low-budget, independent, average acting, and the bottom of the list, "Asad." Sadly, preliminary reports indicate "Asad" is the frontrunner. I hope that isn't the case.
2013 is the most solid year for live action shorts I've seen so far. This is a must watch for any film enthusiast.
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