Being nominated for an Oscar for a short film does wonders for exposure. The general public doesn’t commonly view short films, but once you’re nominated you have the chance to play in a wider amount of theatres as a package. Starting this weekend Indianapolis’ Landmark Theatre shall be showing the Animated and Live Action Oscar Nominated Shorts.
This film starts off the major theme of this year’s live action set. Most of the shorts have a complex theme seen through the eyes of a younger person. In “The Confession” two young boys at Catholic School are stressing about the first time they have to confess their sins. Neither of them feel that much will change, but they don’t think their sins are worthy enough. So they decide to play a prank that becomes worse than they expect. Once the short turns, it stays in very familiar territory usually associated with “bad decision thrillers.” The child actors do a good job and the style of the film is consistently engaging as it plays with colors, but the story is disappointing.
This time a child observes the concepts of love and judgment. A young boy has a crush on his teacher and even “proposes” to her. She accepts his ring, but the boy becomes angry when she sees her still with a man who doesn’t treat her well. So he decides to take action. Every character is too simplified and nobody is taken seriously. The fiancée is only a jerk, the child is just a child. Even at the end when they have a chance to change things up, the film takes the easy route and further compromises the characters desires.
God of Love
This is the one that really stands out as an original voice. Luke Matheny writes, directs and stars in this short about a guy who is given a box of love darts. It’s filmed in beautiful black and white and with a style that harkens back to French New Wave and Woody Allen’s 70s New York. The humor is really strong and the jokes are never broadcasted. It’s a filmmaker who has complete control over what he’s doing and his expertise shines through. Just a really great film.
A bus is stopped by a group of African political terrorists. There is tension as it is unclear what will happen to the people who do not match up politically to them. There is strong acting throughout, but it doesn’t have a lot of resonance. It’s a familiar story with a familiar resolution. The fact that it brings attention to more Rwanda problems doesn’t make it a very lasting short, aside from an unexpected presence of a certain popular band. This seems like a minor point, but not when it comes to short films: it had very good lighting.
David is in the hospital when he has the chance to take part in a Make-a-Wish program. He thinks about what he really wants to do before he dies and he really wants to have sex. This one had more dialog and characters, than the typical short film. Usually most of the 20 minutes is reserved for the camera to focus on imagery, but “Wish 143” really fleshed out David and his priest friend. The dialog isn’t perfect and with a little more time the ending could have been stronger, but the whole thing is very engaging and likable.