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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


2008 Oscar Nominees - Live Action Short Films

We had such a good time last week with the 2008 Academy Award Animated Short Film nominees, we decided to continue the party with their Oscar siblings in the Live Action Short category. Did you know that Oscar had TWO foreign film categories this year? Well, it does...there's not one America-financed film on this page. Danes, Italians, Brits and the French are duking it out for the prize; we've got our thoughts on the nominees below:

Om Natten (At Night) (view 'mood' clip)
Directors: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth

Somebody please, help me open a vein. Boy, this is Heavy, capital H. Three girls with cancer. And it's Danish. But the photography looks beautiful, and cancer flicks have often been catnip for Oscar voters. Never say never.

Il Supplente (The Substitute) (not online...if you find it, let me know)
Director: Andrea Jublin
I haven't been able to see it, but the synopsis -- slightly wacky, unorthodox substitute teacher inspires wayward kids -- takes a page straight out of Dead Poets Society. And The Winner Is says it has no prayer. I tend to agree.

Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets) (view clips and making of)
Director: Philippe Pollet-Villard

Granted, I don't speak French, and this You Tube clip of the movie has no subtitles. But it doesn't seem to break any new ground nor dazzle with exemplary performance. Seems cutesy...or as cutesy as a movie about petty thieves can get.

Tanghi Argentini (Argentinian Tango) (not online...if you find it, let me know)
Directors: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
Uptight businessmen learning to dance is one of the more overused metaphors in movie history. I'm not sure this thin offering brings much that's new to the discussion.

The Tonto Woman (view trailer)
Directors: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, it's easily my favorite. Great camera work, intense performances, and a grounded sense of its own timing and pace.

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