Today I went to see the five short films that were nominated in this year’s Academy Awards. The winner, West Bank Story, is a musical comedy about forbidden love and competing falafel stands in the West Bank. It was pretty funny but it was very over-the-top and I actually liked some of the other films better. I was particularly enamored with Binta y la Gran Idea, a sweet, whimsical film set in Senegal and told from the perspective of an adorable little girl. The movie’s a bit cheesey but I’m pretty sure you’d have to have a heart made of concrete to not find yourself endeared to it.
I also really loved Éramos Pocos from Madrid. This is a subtle comedy about a man who invites his mother-in-law to live with him and his son when his wife leaves them. I think this may have been the best film in terms of acting and depth, in my opinion. It was very subtle and nuanced and very funny. The Saviour is a quirky Australian comedy about a church elder who becomes obsessed with a married woman when she ends their illicit relationship. This film probably got the most laughs of any of them, it was very funny and the acting was superb. The last film, Helmer & Søn is a Danish comedy about a man who is called to a nursing home with his sister and her sullen daughter when their father locks himself in a closet. This one definitely got some laughs but I think it was my least favorite. The pacing was kind of off; it had a slow build and then the ending felt a little rushed.
You can download any of these films (as well as the animated shorts and some of the films that were short-listed) on iTunes for $1.99 each.