Monday, February 19, 2018

A Movie Shorts Trifecta

Every two or three years I go to see the Oscar nominated short films at the local art house theater (Film Streams' Ruth Sokolof Theater).  This year I saw them at the newly refurbished Dundee theater which is now owned by Film Streams.

There are three categories of short films with five nominees per category.  The categories are Live Action, Documentary, and Animation.

I watched the Live Action shorts last Thursday.  In the past there were a good mix of serious and funny movies.  This year four of five were serious and a bit depressing.  To give you an idea, the first one was about a shooter breaking into a school.  I was watching this the day after the Parkland school shooting.  It made me cringe even though it had a happy ending.  My choice for the best live action shorts is "Watu Wote" a story based on an actual event in Kenya.  A group of Islamic bus riders defend a christian woman from Al-Shabaab terrorists.  Both heartwarming and sad at once.

The Wife joined me on Friday to watch the Documentary shorts.  A couple years ago we left depressed after seeing the gloomy documentary nominees.  This year they were a bit more uplifting and positive.   Our favorite was "Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405", a documentary about Mindy Alper, an artist living a rough, troubled life but still finds joy in her art.  This one made us smile.

Today I watch the Animated shorts.  As I entered the theater I was surprised to see some elementary aged girls from Girls, Inc.  The reason I was surprised is just because a film is animated does not mean the topics are appropriate for children.  This year three films included death, murder, and stealing.  One included a photorealistic picture of a bloated dead body floating in a hot tub.  Another had Little Red Riding Hood killing two anthropomorphic wolves and an anthropomorphic pig with a handgun (and stealing money from the dead pig).  Not good for small children.  My favorite was the photorealistic "Garden Party".  It was done so well it didn't look animated.

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