Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oscar Shorts!

We are exceedingly lucky in Tucson to have The Loft, an "art house movie theater" where you cannot see the latest Spiderman sequel, and, in fact, many of the movies are in a language that isn't even English! Tonight, case in point, some friends and I attended a screening of the 2008 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Films (as opposed to animated).

It was an eye-opening experience - normally the"short" films (limited to 40 minutes or less) are the poor white trash of the movie world - there really isn't a venue to see them, alone or as a group. I've seen some on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) on cable, and I understand some film festivals show collections, but you really have to go out of your way to enjoy them. The 2008 collection includes shorts from Switzerland, Germany, France, Denmark and Ireland - the US didn't make the cut this year. My favorites were "New Boy", about an African refugee's first day of school in an Irish classroom (shown at left), and "Manon on the Asphalt" (Manon sur le bitume - the french entry) about how a woman's life affects the people around her.

The format of these "filmettes" force the makers to tell a story, develop characters and form an emotional response quickly. How involved can you get in New Boy's 11 minutes, or Manon's 15? A lot, it turns out. I was nearly sobbing at the end of the latter, and my friends had a similar response, though the consensus was that the odds-on favorite to win was likely the German entry "Toyland" (Spielzeugland) with it's Nazi/Holocaust theme (13 minutes!).

So how do you ever get to see these? It says they are available in iTunes, though when I just checked, only the 2007 and earlier were available. I've also seen previous collections for sale on Amazon and I suspect those DVDs would be available on Netflix or other sources - you should definitely look for them! The Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films are being shown tomorrow night - check for a report afterwards!

1 comment:

Shannon and Alex said...

I would just love that theater. One of the things I miss most about Columbia is my regular trips to Nickelodeon, where are the artsy movies were shown. They were the best.