Sunday, March 01, 2009

"2009 Oscar Short Films"

Short films come and go as forgotten gems which does not reach any audience in most cases. When the distribution is so worse for the regular common feature films made these days it is no wonder that these films go unnoticed. Thankfully in the teeny tiny big village (yes I said it) of Peoria has opened a teeny tiny Indie theater ( I was extremely happy to see “Waltz with Bashir” on a slightly bigger screen than my television and that too early not waiting for the DVD release. To a great surprise they are viewing currently the 2009 Oscar nominated short films along with “Waltz with Bashir” for a week. With glee I went and all the five of those were wonderful. Succinct and sweet. A great viewing pleasure.

When I had cable and managed to see IFC channel, there were a series of beautiful short films which made greater mark than many other feature films. They become the stepping stone for a better picture by the budding directors and the crew. I cannot forget the afternoon I watched a series of films in a friend’s house. In that was the terrifically funny and sweet movie directed by Craig Hammill called “Cleats of Imminent Doom”. If you get a chance do watch it. In the meanwhile let me go through the five nominated films (in order of viewing).

Auf der Strecke (On the Line)

Directed by Reto Caffi, this german film tells about a security guard in love with a clerk in a book shop. He monitors the live video feed and when she leaves the office, he joins along for the train ride, a routine he has been following for a while. In one such ride he sees her with another guy and things begin to go a little uncomfortable for our man. In the coming series of events, he happens to make a choice which becomes his immense guilt and hates himself for the rest of the film. Shot most in the mall environment and train rides, both surrounded with strangers this is a film which works on the mood than the unfolding of the story.

New Boy

Directed by Steph Green, this is that cute film which also reaches beyond its bubbly characteristics to say something more. It is about a quick school session with nine year olds and an African boy getting into the class and how he perceives the changed environment and the violence he has seen projecting on his new class mates. It has very matured acting from the kids. It does not overdoes it with sugary ending. It is the simplest film of the five and is the one which while accommodating wide audience gets its cinematic view too.

Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Directed by Jochen Alexander Freydank, this german film is about a mother’s search for her missing child at the dawn of the Holocaust. Her Jew neighbours are taken away and their son David is a good friend of her son Heinrich. She tells them they are going to “Toyland” and the boy makes his plan to getaway with them. The film is told in parts by flash back and then to the current situation. As I was watching the film, the thought went once again of the Holocaust films being done enough but as I always answer it with “if it is made good, it can be done”, this films is good.

Grisen (The Pig)

This Danish film directed by Dorthe Warnø Høgh (I am wondering how it is pronounced), is a perfect indie short film. An old man comes to the hospital for an operation to remove an abscess from his rectum. He comes alone for not giving trouble to her busy girl Mona. As he goes through the procedure and examinations in his room, he sees an unusual art of a pig jumping to a small lake with an expression of smile. He sees it as a comforting thing and makes it his guardian angel through this ordeal. But when another patient comes in with his family, the art work is taken away and our old man gets upset. It is then a nice little fight we would have seen in public places which then finds it resolve (of course little times).

Manon sur le bitume (Manon on the Asphalt)

From french directors Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont comes this narration from a girl named Manon who we see lying on the road after meeting with an accident. She lays there thinking about her possible death and how her friends and family would go about her demise. And in doing that she goes over her love she begins to yearn. It also makes you see that every passed moment might be the last and got to be enjoyed while it lasts. It glows with the characteristics of a french film and that is a good thing.

There it is, the five films working magic. All the films had background scores and soundtracks with beautiful precision and leaves you wanting more. I would suggest all these five films to every one and would strongly ask any one living in Peoria to use this opportunity to see these films running for a week in Peoria Theater.

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