Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Academy Award Nominations – Live Action

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The Confession – Tanel Toom

God of Love – Luke Matheny

Na Wewe – Ivan Goldschmidt

Wish 143 – Ian Barnes & Samantha Waite

The Crush – Michael Creagh

Now that you’re inundated with clips from this year’s best short live action films, let me point you to my favorite aspects of each. One thing I noticed in all of these films is how beautifully they’re shot. The cinematography of each made me want the same aesthetics in some of this year’s Best Picture Nominees (with the exception of The King’s Speech, because WOW).

Narratively, the best short films focused on small aspects of the relationships between important characters; the relationship between the cancer-ridden boy of Wish 143 and the “too-cool” priest as well as the relationship between the boy and the prostitute the priest hires for him is particularly compelling. The main character struggles to accomplish growing up in what little time he has left, only to realize he’s not there yet and maybe he never will be. Ultimately, he needs comfort and acceptance, something the guilt-ridden Catholic in The Confession can relate to and ultimately passes up the face of his encompassing guilt. The relationship between the boys in that film is incredibly tense, reflecting the incredible tension the main character feels.

The “bros before ho’s” sentiment between the male leads in God of Love is what appeals to me in that narrative, and ultimately the personal sacrifice for greater good that marks the main character’s personal growth. I can’t help but return to The King’s Speech, my favorite Academy pick this year, because the entire narrative is centered around the relationship between George VI and his speech therapist in the much larger story of a looming second World War. In the nominated short films, as in this one, personal relationships outshine larger events.

The only short that was ridden with historical, political, and social references that far outshined its smaller storyline was Na Wewe. It was a good example of small triumph in the face of larger tragedy, but failed to hit me as hard as its fellow nominees. Irish film The Crush may be my personal favorite, if only for the believable acting of the main character, also the director’s son.

The Canadian Press‘s Derrik J. Lang quotes Kenneth Branagh concerning this year’s nominees as exemplary short films:

“I think that short films often contain an originality, a creative freedom, an energy and an invention that is inspiring and entertaining … I think they are, as Shakespeare put it, a good deed in a naughty world.”

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Written by Alisa Hathaway

February 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

One Response

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  1. […] of you may know we have a history with the Oscar shorts, both live action and animated, that stemmed from a class I really, REALLY didn’t want to take but loved the […]


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