Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fun and cute

I saw the Academy Award Nominated Short Films yesterday at the Detroit Film Theater. Most of the animated films were under 8 minutes, only one at 35 minutes. All of those fit into the first hour. However, four of the live action films were 25 minutes or longer, so showing them all took 2¼ hours. Add in a 25 minute intermission (I had time to visit the DIA gift shop) and the evening didn’t end until almost 11:00.

My favorite animated film was Piper, one of the short ones. It was made by Disney and the notes say one reason for creating it was to test some new animation software. The story is about a baby bird, a sandpiper. Mother bird has decided it is time for baby to feed itself. We see baby’s first encounters with waves on the shore, the area where the birds feed. Fun and cute.

The long animated film is Pear Cider and Cigarettes, which came with a warning that it wasn’t suitable for children. The film ponders the situation of a friend in dire health who appears to be sabotaging attempts to get well.

All five of the live action films are worth mentioning.

Sing from Hungary features a children’s choir on the verge of winning a song competition. We learn the director will let all children join, but will ask some of them to simply mouth the words. The children have a great way to show their solidarity with each other.

Silent Nights from Denmark is the story of a refugee from Ghana trying to establish himself in Copenhagen.

Timecode from Spain is the short one at 15 minutes. Two employees at a parking garage in opposite shifts communicate with each other by letting a security camera film their message and leaving a note for which camera and timecode will show the message.

Enemies Within from France is about an Algerian applying for French citizenship. It is a battle of wills as the government officer says: You attended gatherings of other Muslims. Names, please.

The Lady and the TGV from Switzerland is my favorite. The TGV are the fast trains of Europe. The lady lives *right next* to the TGV lines. When her son was young they would wave to the train every morning and evening as it zoomed past. The son is now a successful man, but she continues greeting the train. The train engineer notices and sends her a note that he appreciates her wave. Thus begins a strange relationship. This one is based on real events.

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