Short films can be a welcome reprieve from the three hour-long sagas (which are wonderful in their own right) that tend to grace the silver screens these days. When you only have so many minutes to work with, you tend to make each one count.
That can most definitely be said of each of these wonderful nominees. They’re all beautifully, succinct, touching stories. Also, they’re all tearjerkers…you’ve been warned…and as always: no spoilers. So with that, here they are, the nominees for Best Short Film-Live Action:
“Asad” written and directed by Bryan Buckley.
Asad, a boy from a poor Somali village, live in a world where he must trade his family’s dinner for his friend’s life decide between piracy and life as a fisherman. Problem is, he has horrible luck when it comes to fishing. That all changes the day he catches a “white tiger.” This film serves as a reminder to us all of how lucky we are. With a cast made up entirely of Somali refugees I dare you to not be moved by this inspiring story of a young boy who goes out fishing and finds a bit of luck.
“Buzkashi Boys” co-written by Sam French and Martin Roe, directed by Sam French.
Set in present-day Afghanistan, “Buzkashi Boys” tells the story of Rafi, the son of a blacksmith, and his friend Ahmad, an orphan. The boys go on an adventure one afternoon to see a Buzkashi match—a brutal game of polo played with a dead goat—and leave with a dream of one day playing, a dream that Rafi knows will probably never come true. This coming of age tale is refreshingly realistic, and heartbreaking. Rafi’s acceptance of his life, yet unwillingness to be defeated by it is inspiring to say the least.
“Curfew” written and directed by Shawn Christensen.
Also starring Christensen, this is the only nominated short (in this category) that is in English. Richie is at a very low point when he receives a call from his sister begging him to watch her nine-year old daughter, Sophie, for a few hours. Because of an oft-mentioned accident Richie hasn’t been allowed to see Sophie for many years. Sophie doesn’t care. She has a list of approved destinations, petty cash, and strict instructions to be home by 10:30. What starts as a tired, begrudging ordeal for Richie quickly transforms into an evening full of forgiven trespasses and forgotten grudges. Sophie’s capacity for joy serves as a reminder of what’s really important, and that few broken things are truly beyond repair.
“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” written and directed Tom Van Avermaet.
Nathan Rijckx died during the first World War and was given a choice. He could succumb to death or capture 10,000 shadows for a strange collector in exchange for another chance at life. You can guess which he chose. Clinging to a final memory of a girl known only to him as Sarah, Rijckx travels through time and space to capture the final shadows of the departed, hoping to one day get a second chance at life and love. This story is a wonderful and unexpected blend of surreal and historic. The settings, emotions, and plot are familiar, yet at its center is this absurd and morbid concept dressed up in Steampunk of all things. It’s real, it’s fanciful, it’s beautiful.
“Henry” written and directed by Yan England.
Henry was a great pianist and he was married to Marie, a great violinist. Their daughter, Nathalie took after her father and became a great pianist too. Henry remembers all of this, he remembers meeting his wife, he remembers the birth of his child, he remembers her first solo concert, he just doesn’t remember what’s happened since. This story looks at the terror and confusion of losing one’s memories and the heartache of the family that remembers. It’s thoughtful, respectful, honest, and beautifully done, with heartrending performances all around.
They’re all wonderful, but these are my favorites 🙂