Crushes, confessions, things that thud in the night A short review of the Oscar-nominated shorts

Live-action shorts

The Confession (Tanel Toom)

This half-hour short drama thriller centers on two young boys preparing to make their first confessions in front of a priest. In the process, their seemingly innocent prank unravels into unexpected and grave consequences. Accompanied by excellent cinematography, this Oscar nominee explores the influence of faith on individual actions.

God of Love (Luke Matheny)

This short is an adaptation of the Cupid story with a literal twist. In this version, a love-struck darts champion receives a package of passion-inducing darts, and what follows is a quirky, feel-good comedy, all filmed in black and white.

The Crush (Michael Creagh)

Ardal Travis is an eight-year-old boy madly in love with his second-grade teacher, Miss Purdy. When Miss Purdy’s boyfriend comes into town, the heartbroken Ardal surprisingly challenges his older opponent to a death match. In a span of 15 minutes, The Crush brings to life some very delicate feelings. This film deserves Best Short Film (Live Action).

Na Wewe (Ivan Goldschmidt)

This twenty-minute short captures the mid-’90s civil war in Burundi by confronting the brief but frequent reality of rebel attacks on innocent civilians. “Na Wewe” means “You too” in Kurundi, and this short zooms in on the fundamental complication of differentiating the the two opposing sides of the genocide, Hutus from the Tutsis.

Wish 143 (Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite)

David is a terminally-ill teenager who is given the opportunity to do something exciting by the Wishman. David’s one wish however, is one the Wishman cannot grant him: losing his virginity. But David is determined to find a way to fulfill his one last desire.

Animated shorts

Let’s Pollute (Geefwee Boedoe)

This six-and-a-half minute short film aims to showcase humanity’s negligence of nature through sarcasm and satire. The film is successful in documenting the ways in which people pollute, but it over-simplifies the subject matter. The film’s graphics are rudimentary and presented in the style of a ’50s educational film, complete with cartoonish characters and a classic narration.

Madagascar, A Journey Diary
(Bastien Dubois)

A sketchbook-style animation with beautiful watercolor highlights is used in this short film. It follows a traveler’s journey though Madagascar as if flipping through his diary, which is filled with pictures and sketches. The film is in French, with English subtitles. It deserves four stars with its elegant paintings and creative storytelling method. The Gruffalo
(Jakob Schuh and Max Lang)

The longest short film in the animation category, The Gruffalo is a perfect bedtime story for children. Beautiful music accompanies the little mouse in this film as he travels through the deep, dark woods and encounters adventures along the way. Its beautiful and artistic presentation, as well as its cute storyline, puts it at the top of the list for Best Short Film (Animated).

The Lost Thing
(Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann)

This short film presents a touching story between a man and a Lost Thing. The message can be interpreted several different ways, but the quality of the animation is the same: it’s a beautifully rendered film with elegant subtleties.

Day & Night (Teddy Newton)

Pixar’s short film plays around with the concept of opposites. Day & Night are blob-ish creatures which share striking similarities. This is a fun film, exactly what viewers expect from Pixar. Four stars.