Many people see the movies than win Academy Awards after the Oscars air.
That is not the case for me. Of the major movies that were nominated there are only two that I haven’t seen. I haven’t see “Joy” which earned Jennifer Lawrence her 4th Oscar nomination and I haven’t seen “The Hateful Eight” which earned Jennifer Jason Leigh her 1st Oscar nomination. However, I was never that big on seeing either of those movies so I was left with a very limited selection of movies to see this past weekend when I was looking to extended my Oscar viewing for one more week. So instead of looking for a feature film to see my husband and I went to see the Oscar nominated Live Action short films yesterday afternoon. I have done this the last three years and I really enjoying seeing short films, since I don’t know what these films are about going in I’m rarely disappointed.
I enjoyed all five films. However, even when you like five different things you still have your favorites. I am going to rank the films from my #5 to my #1 and give a few thoughts on each one.
This film is a cute family/cultural clash comedy. After an Israeli Jewish man, his girlfriend and his mother crash into a statue of the Virgin Mary outside of a little convent they have to try to interact with the nuns that live there. There are two dynamics in the film. The one between the man, his girlfriend and his mother; the family arguments are one that anybody can relate to no matter what your culture is. The other dynamic is the one between a Jewish family and a group of Catholic nuns. The film shows not just the usual cultural differences but very specific ones as the Jewish family runs up against the arrival of Shabbat and the nuns are observing a vow of silence. While I liked Ave Maria a great deal it just didn’t have the power of the top three films.
This is the film that won the Oscar. Although it wasn’t my favorite I understand why people would have voted for it. It is the story of an English man who has a stutter that is so bad that it affects his ability to function in the world. The one place he is able to feel normal is online. The internet allows him to be the same as everybody else. It even allows him to have a romantic relationship with a woman, online at least. Then things are put to the test when she proposes that they meet in person. It is a very sweet film that I am glad was nominated, even if it wasn’t in my top three.
I’ve never been a big supporter of the efforts of the United States military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last fourteen and a half years. However, I fully understand that you can support the troops without supporting the mission and I always have done that. This film is the powerful true story of a woman who was an interpreter and her first day on the job in Afghanistan in 2009. The film is an excellent microcosm of what happens when cultures collide in a time of war and the human cost that that comes with that.
#2-Everything Will be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
This film from Germany and Austria is a heart wrenching portrait of how a divorce can put a child in the middle of the drama of adults. In the film a divorced father desperate to spend time with his daughter makes decisions that are made with his heart instead of his head. The film is an all too real reminder of how the decisions that are right for our heart aren’t often the right decisions for our lives.
Like “Day One” this film deals with war but it’s on a much more personal level. It is the story of two Albanian boys growing up during the war in Kosovo. It is a great story of friendship and how the events of our childhood can stay with us long into adulthood. For me this film was the best because it dealt with the complicated issues of war, friendship, loyalty, betrayal and regret.
These film short films were a great send off to my Oscar viewing for the year. When Oscar season comes to an end I’m always a little sad. Not only because I look forward to the awards so much but because I love seeing quality films and I know they will be hard to find between now and September.
If the Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Films are playing near you check them out while you still can.
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