We’re a little late on this one, I’ll admit. The plan was to pass around a chain email and review a film (or in this case, a collection of shorts) as a group, offering our differing perspectives and views. Buuuuut our group is composed primarily of right-brained artist types…who aren’t typically known for following through on things. Sorry.
Dan: So, I’ve never gone to see Oscar nominated shorts before and they were not what I expected. I’m used to the typical festival selection of artistic abstractions or offensive crudities. These were all really down-to-earth, enjoyable films.
Which films stood out to you all?
Katie: Time Freak is more my style of film. I thought it was hilarious. I don’t know if it was intentional in the writing or not but I liked the underlying message: learn to let things go or you’ll be stuck fighting the same fight forever.
Sarah: I also liked Time Freak. I enjoyed the light hearted way they made fun of our human nature to want to get things right. Its been a theme of freedom for me recently. Free to be wrong. Being able to laugh at ourselves with each other gives permission to be who we are.
At the end when the friend is taken on this rediculous journey and makes a simple suggestion not to study quantum physics, to me, this was a fun example of grace. When we try to write (right) our own stories, often times we take innocent bystanders along, and in the end, we can start over. Even if we cannot see, someone else will, and hopefully we can find a way to not take ourselves too seriously.
I would like to do some projects like this. Comical and yet poignant. That’s really clever.
Dan: Yeah, Time Freak was super clever.
If there was any commonality within this odd collection of films, it was clear, concise, unquestionable message. These weren’t Michael Bay popcorn flicks or rambling Wes Anderson character biopics. I love that clarity and conviction in storytelling. It’s concise and to the point.
I think if there was any film I wish I had directed it was Tube Atlantic. It tempered the weight and morbid nature of death with offbeat humor and quirky production design. Every shot was jam packed with the history and passion of the dying man’s younger days; every image revealed how he had turned from it and became the embittered man he was. A lot of short-filmmakers fall into that trap of oddity for oddity’s sake, but I felt Hallvar Witzø‘s purpose in every moment.
Katie: I could watch Tube Atlantic over and over again just to hear them say “Tooooba.”
I really liked Pentecost as well. Lately everything you see involving Alter Boys is always some abhorrent scandal. This one was actually light-hearted and fun. They treated the boys like a soccer team. The pep talk before the big mass just cracked me up and to end it with the field goal style kick of the incense was fantastic!
Dan: It was, and the Church has had a messy history of placing overbearing expectations on it’s members. It was nice to see that burden shrugged in a fun, playful manner.
Now, knowing which short won the Oscar, it’s interesting that none of us responded to The Shore. Is that an indication of our age or historical ignorance? I personally didn’t see anything special in The Shore, in fact, I found it a bit boring compared to the other exciting, high concept shorts. However, knowing now the historical significance behind the film, I can see why it would have won the Oscar.
It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz; it came out during the Great Depression when everyone was dreaming of ‘somewhere over the rainbow.’ It sounds like it’s a time for reconciliation and healing in Northern Ireland, and the world needs to hear that part of their story now more than ever.
Questions: Did you get to see the shorts? What did you think? Agree or disagree with anything we said?