The 2006 Academy Award Nominated Shorts-Live Action ***
Once again, Magnolia Pictures is giving us the chance to get a glimpse at the short films nominated for Oscars. This is one of my favorite events every year-digital prints of the five short films in both the Live Action category and the Animated. The only downside is that it is two programs for the price of two. If you want to see them all, you have to pay twice, but it is well worth it. In the live action category-
THE SAVIOUR-Directed by Peter Templeman & Stuart Parkyn(Australia)
"The Saviour" is a very witty and entertaining short about two door to door Mormans who are trying to convert a neighborhood. One of them ends up having a torrid affair with a young housewife who can't get pregnant with her husband, leaving her to look for comfort in the arms of another man. His Mormon partner becomes suspicious of him, though, when he realizes that he's never been inside the home of the woman whom he believes his friend is in the middle of conversion. This is my personal pick of the five for the Oscar, even though I doubt it stands a chance.
HELMER & SON-Directed by Soren Pilmark & Kim Magnusson(Denmark)
A father-son relationship in just about ten minutes, "Helmer and Son" has a son seeing his father in a retirement home, only to find that his father has locked himself into a closet and refuses to come out. It is short and sweet, but ultimately nothing new and kind of stale with story.
ERAMOS POCOS-Directed by Borja Cobeaga(Spain)
The most feature type film of the five, "Eramos Pocos" tells the story of a father and son whose wife and mother has left them. The two of them try to persuade the mother in law to do the household work, until the father finds out a horrible truth. This is my second favorite, a very well done little short film that does have the potential to becoming a full length film.
BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA-Directed by Javier Fesser & Luis Manso(Spain)
My next to least favorite of the five, and sadly the one that I think is going to win. "Binta and the Great Idea" has everything that is needed to win an Oscar-story of poor children in Africa that want to go to school. Come on! It's politically correct, uplifting, and tells a relevant story. But it's somewhat dull, not entertaining, and was possibly the longest thirty minutes.
WEST BANK STORY-Directed by Ari Sandel (United States)
A terrible waste, and a horrible ending to the otherwise decent collection. "West Bank Story" is a mock of "West Side Story," only between Pakistan and Israel. It tries to be a satire of the Middle East conflict, fast food, and "West Side Story" but ends up being too painful, and made me wonder what it was doing in the nominee list. It just isn't funny, and very amateur.
All in all, the live action nominees left me a little uninspired this year. I recalled last years collection and it was a brilliant and depressing trip, but they were all almost masterpieces. This year is a mixed bag, and I could just recommend it. And sadly the best of the five come at the very beginning, and also my pick for the Best Short Film Live Action.