Saturday, February 11, 2017

2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts -- Animation

Blind Vaysha
The plot of this story is simple. A girl, Vaysha, is born with one eye that sees only the past and another eye that sees only the beautiful. Although the village women try to help her, she never sees the present. This modern fairytale from Canada merges the philosophical and the fantastical, which is what the best fairytales always do. Watching the artwork is like watching a living ancient etching. An animated film that will cause much discussion among filmgoers of any age. This should win if the Academy members decide to go for a deep story.
Borrowed Time

In this US short, a son recounts the tragic events that led to his father's death. A tragedy which he caused but was not responsible for and which has haunted him since that day. The cinematography  is breath-taking. The script is crisp, powerful, and heart-rending despite the sparse dialog. A lot of emotion and beauty in this 6-minute film.  Definitely not for kids. 
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
 This joint Canadian and UK noir has spectacular linear art, very reminscent of comic books. The story is excellent, the narration world-weary. The entire thing is stylish. But it bored me. Perhaps I'm burned out on good-for-nothing self-destructive types, but after a while I didn't care enough about the antihero and I kept wondering why such great art was being wasted on such a character. Perhaps it's the literature major in me but I've just seen too many stories about loser/users to care. This story added nothing new to similar stories and the backstory of ant-hero's life didn't give the viewer any reason to care about or understand him. So, while his friend the narrator was well-acted and worn down, the story seemed as inevitable and predictable as the anti-hero's path towards death.   

This American short about growing up, bonding, and paternal love is very sweet but it says nothing new. In it, a young girl realizes how much her father has influenced her. The color palate of the film is very painterly, giving the viewer a rhapsodic pastel rush of fleeting, nostalgic, images.


 This is a Pixar joint and it is utterly adorable. I had a big grin on my face. It's cute, hopeful, joyful, lovely...and it has a cute little baby bird. Yes, the cuteness factor is off the charts. Academy members who like cuteness should love this.

What Should Win: Blind Vaysha but I wouldn't mind if Borrowed Time or Piper won.
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