(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dearest... Short Cuts 2016, Part 3: Oscar's Live Action Short Film Nominees

ShortsHD once again presents this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films at a theater or streaming device near you. These special programs are usually the only way for most movie fans to see these otherwise illusive short film nominees that can make our break your office Oscar pool. In the last of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film.

I'd love to be able to tell you that this year's slate of live action short nominees are as over-all great as last year's, but that is sadly just not the case. Still, the majority of them are terrifically entertaining, so there will be some suspense before the envelope is read naming the winner come this Sunday night.

In addition to my reviews and trailer links, I've suggested a similarly-themed Oscar nominated feature film to pair with each live action short nominee to create your own Academy-sanctioned double feature. Bring on the popcorn!

And the nominees are...

Ennemis Intérieurs (Enemies Within), Sélim Azzazi (France, 27 minutes).

A simple interview for French citizenship turns into a witch hunt when the Algerian applicant is asked to name names of possible terrorists. Basically a two-hander, and an overly familiar one at that. Hassam Ghancy gives an intense performance as the interviewee, but in this time of immigrant crises and international terrorism this one brings nothing new or surprising to the table.

Watch trailer.
Dearest Rating: 6/10
Pair it with: Another cat-and-mouse story, Hell or High Water.

La Femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady), Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff (Switzerland, 30 minutes).

A lonely woman, who methodically but joyfully waves a Swiss flag at the train every time it passes by her quaint country home, finds her life unexpectedly revitalized when she begins corresponding with the train's unseen driver. Jane Birkin (yes, of Birkin bag fame) shines in this lovely, bittersweet tale (inspired by a true story) of hope and finding connections in the unlikeliest of places.

Watch trailer.
Dearest Rating: 8/10
Pair it with: A Man Called Ove is another curmudgeonly protagonist you'll grow to love.

Silent Nights, Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson (Denmark, 30 minutes).

While volunteering at a housing shelter, a Danish woman falls in love with a homeless immigrant from Ghana, who unbeknownst to her has a wife and family back home. With its boring characters doing stupid things, this one is quite the disappointment coming from producer Magnusson, who previously won in this category for the much-more deserving Election Night and Helium.

Watch trailer.
Dearest Rating: 4/10
Pair it with: The other interracial love story this year, Loving.

Sing (Mindenki), Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy (Hungary, 25 minutes).

Set in a Budapest elementary school, new girl Zsófi becomes fast friends with popular student Liza, but trouble arises when a secret about their school's award-winning choir comes to light. Further proof that foreign films "get" stories about children far more realistically and interestingly than most Hollywood fare, this charming tale of rebellion in the face of adult conformity is an inspirational breath of fresh air.

Watch trailer.
Dearest Rating: 8/10
Pair it with: My Life as a Zucchini also centers on a "new kid in town".

Timecode, Juanjo Giménez (Spain, 15 minutes).

Although parking lot attendants Luna (day shift) and Diego (night shift) only see each other fleetingly, they develop a unique relationship via their work station security cameras. Already a Palme d'Or winner from last year's Cannes Film Festival, this original and surprisingly artful take on workplace romance not only features a great "take this job and shove it" denouement, but also the best punchline of any of this year's short film nominees.

Watch trailer.
Dearest Rating: 7/10
Pair it with: Another unique love story, The Lobster.

Coming soon: A Movie Dearest annual tradition... "If We Picked the Oscars"!.

Click here for part one, my reviews of this year's Animated Short Film nominees, and click here for part two, my reviews of this year's Documentary Short Subject nominees.

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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