The OSCAR Live Action and Animation Shorts – Riveting, Gripping and Vibrant Films

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Often in the shadows, The OSCAR Shorts have become more than the beginnings of greater potential with big budget efforts, big budget payoff and their own streaming platform, the OSCAR Shorts have arrived and the world is noticing.

The 2019 Shorts a collection of five Live Action, Animation and Documentary films that have risen to the top of the thousands of films submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science for Oscar consideration.

The 2019 Live Action Shorts are the most resonating and poignant in recent history. The subjects taken right from the headlines, and leave one breathless as the narrative in each unfolds.

Detainment, the United Kingdom’s entry into the OSCAR race, directed by Vincent Lambe, recreates the interrogation of one of the most heinous crimes in British history that of two ten year old boys convicted of killing two year old James Bulger. Taken from actual tapes and evidenced gathered the story that unfolds is as shocking today as it was then. The film was blasted by the parents of James Bulger. It is jarring, in its recreation, and leaves one stunned.


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Fauve, the Canadian entry, directed by Jeremy Comte, tells the story of a normal afternoon in the lives of two boys as they tally up points, each attempting to one up the other as they play on an abandoned train, walk the railroad tracks and finally end up in an abandoned cement quarry where things go terribly and irrevocably wrong. Even as trouble was expected, this poignant and riveting ending was not imagined.

Marguerite, also from Canada, directed by Marianne Farley, presents the end of life choices an elderly woman, who has sickness, makes as her caregiver regularly visits. Told over a year, the seasonal changes inform the audience of the time and as the two become more acquainted she makes peace with a season in her life that has held her for nearly sixty years. Unlocking the secrets of her life, she is able to finally be at peace and as time continues its march.

Madre, Spain’s entry, directed by Roderigo Sorogoyen, begins innocently enough and in minutes what seemed like a peaceful afternoon turn into every mother’s nightmare as her son, who is six, and who was on a weekend trip with his father is suddenly on the phone telling his mother, his dad left him and he is alone on a beach. The child is too young to see any landmarks and suddenly someone is approaching him. The shocking ending holds no conclusion, no neatly tied interventions, rescues or miracles. Just a dull throb of deadening reality.


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Skins, the USA entry, directed by Guy Nattiv, rounds out the five competing Live Action Shorts and it is as disturbing, unsettling, and uncomfortable as the narrative unfolds and we see the lives, of those who wear their hate with passion. A chance encounter, a black man smiles at a child and unfettered race hate boils over. What follows is beyond shocking and retribution when exacted is unexpected and astounding.

As animation art continues to evolve and produce within the directors imagination style and form the 2019 Animation Shorts are an evolution of realism.

Animal Behavior, the Canadian entry, directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine, brings together the perfect group of animals, each with a recognizable disorder, that translates to any self-help, group therapy session anywhere. All that changes of course when the Gorilla enters the room and all our successes become lost under his pointed and acerbic observations. Very well done.

Bao, the USA entry from director Domee Shi, shares the fantastical tale of second chances as a Chinese mother, who is facing an empty nest receives a new baby bao, as one of her handcrafted with love bao buns suddenly becomes a bouncing baby boy. The Disney Pixar Short is well told, and very well animated. A cute story dealing with the evolution of life.


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Late Afternoon, from Ireland, directed by Louise Bagnall tells the story of Emily, an elderly women, nearing the end of her life, who lives between two states, the past and the present. She journeys into an inner world, reliving moments from her life. She searches for a connection within her vivid, but fragmented memories. We see her with poignant, clear memories, the fire lights that she carried throughout her life, those moments that remain vibrant even as afternoon turns to evening.

One Small Step, a USA/China entry, directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas tells the story of Luna, a young Chinese American girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. From the day she witnesses a rocket launching into space on TV, Luna is driven to reach for the stars. Living with her father, she is dedicated to pursuing her dream of taking that one small step. As with any dream, adversity sets what seem to be insurmountable obstacles. Will she overcome? One Small Step is a powerhouse film in eight minutes, definitely worth seeing.


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Weekends, a USA Entry, directed by Trevor Jimenez, is the story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal dream-like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken up family in this hand-animated film set in 1980’s Toronto.

The OSCAR Nominated Documentary films will be reviewed separately. Shorts International released the following:

Shorts International, the world’s leading short movie entertainment company and operator of the ShortsTV channel, is pleased to announce its best ever opening weekend box office for the ‘Oscar® Nominated Short Films’ this past weekend. The biggest theatrical release of short films in the modern history of cinema is rolling out to more than 600 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa and Australia before the Academy Awards® ceremony on February 24, 2019,”

For a sneak peek at the 2019 ‘Oscar Nominated Short Films’ program, please visit: http://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/.

 

Image courtesy of SHORTS TV