Thursday, February 19, 2015

Short Film: Live Action

I'm officially doing my taxes to avoid writing about the Academy Awards. I'm getting weary, and I'm really wishing I had more time to give better write-ups. You're still reading anyway, though. Weirdos.

    Short Film: Live Action
  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

Aya is a mildly uncomfortable story about a car ride between strangers. Aya is waiting at the airport for her partner when Mr. Overby assumes she's his driver. It's a charmingly awkward and well-produced story of a woman running away for a moment, and Sarah Adler and Ulrich Thomsen perform admirably. It's by far the longest entry here, and while it's thirty-nine minutes, it still feels a little untidy.

The viewing I went to showed Boogaloo and Graham last, which was perfect. It's a charming tale of two brothers who are gifted baby chicks and grow to love them. The characters funny and cute and on point and maybe that's enough. It certainly sent me home with a smile on my face.

Fourteen minutes in to the fifteen minute long poorly translated Butter Lamp*, it would be okay to be a little confused about the point of what you'd seen. For most of the film, you're left wondering what the point of showing a series of vignettes of people posing for staged photos in front of impressive Chinese backdrops is. They're all calm and curious. In those last few seconds, though they all feel a little sad as we see that people are never happy where they are. Frequently ignoring the beauty around them and trying to escape to something better, we find people ruining what they already have. It's clever how neatly it all ties up in the end.

Parvaneh, an Afghan immigrant makes an unlikely friend when she tries to send money home to her family. It's a cute story and it surprisingly well acted by the young women. It's a little bit immigrant struggle and a little bit coming of age and entirely well done.

Can I have more Sally Hawkins all the time? In The Phone Call she's working a crisis line and finds herself comforting a man in his last minutes. She's beautiful here, and if I didn't want her to hold my hand as I slip out of life, I do now.

The beauty of these short films is that they're almost too concise to really screw up. La Lampe Au Buerre de Yak is the one that most sticks with me. I think the impact of its closing moment really gives it a power that's mostly lacking here. I think anything other than it could win. They're all really good choices in their own right, so I can't rightly complain. I really can't pick wills and shoulds, so take this decision with a giant grain of salt.

Will win: Boogaloo and Graham
Should win: The Phone Call

I wanted to get another piece in today, but I ran out of words somewhere around the intro of this one.

*Seriously, La Lampe Au Buerre de Yak pretty clearly also has a yak in it.

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