Every year, the Academy Awards nominate five live action short films they consider to be the best of the previous year. Unlike in years before, the short films that were nominated cover a variety of topics and will have you grabbing the nearest box of tissues. Here is my take on each of the shorts.
“Nefta Football Club”
Directed by Yves Piat, this short examines two young boys named Abdallah and Mohammed. They are traveling down a road when they discover a donkey carrying a white powder. Piat takes what could have been a crushing tale on drugs and survival in Tunisia, and turns it into a lighthearted comedy with one of the best twist endings I have ever seen. While it is not as emotionally riveting as other nominated shorts, “Nefta Football Club” is an enjoyable short that is clever and interesting.
“Brotherhood” follows a young man who returns from Syria to his family in Tunisia after he fought for ISIS. Director Meryam Joobeur does a great job setting up chemistry between each member of the family. The friction between the father and oldest son is a balance of love and disappointment. Joobeur’s storytelling is also on point as “Brotherhood” is currently the favorite to win best live action short film at the Academy Awards, according to betting website Gold Derby. This may not be my favorite short film of the year, but “Brotherhood” is certainly a great take on family and how the effects of war can destroy the lives of others outside the battlefield.
“The Neighbors’ Window”
Set in New York City, “The Neighbors’ Window” focuses on a married couple as they watch another couple from their apartment window. Unlike Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window,” this short film examines the life of a couple whose marriage is strained with the conflicts of wanting to feel young while having children. Director Marshall Curry frames each shot as if it’s a documentary. Interestingly enough, Curry made an Oscar-nominated documentary short film last year called “A Night at the Garden.” The ending really puts meaning into the phrase ‘the grass is always greener on the other side.’
Based on real life events, “Saria” is about sisters Saria and Ximena trying to escape a Guatemalan orphanage to find freedom in the United States. The unflinching environment director Bryan Buckley creates has a profound effect on how you will see life in an abusive orphanage. Raw and dynamic, “Saria” will have you questioning your trust towards those in power and the function of orphanages.
Easily the best short nominated, “A Sister” follows a woman named Alie who is trapped in a car with an abusive man as she tries to call for help without the abuser’s knowledge. This Belgian short is a terrifying portrayal of abuse and how emergency workers must navigate a fine line between helping the patient and following protocol. Director Delphine Giard will have viewers on the edge of their seats throughout runtime as tensions between the abuser and Alie rise. If there is any short to check out from this year’s nominees, “A Sister” is a must-see.
Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org