Last weekend, our local movie theater showed this year’s Academy Award-nominated Live-Action Shorts. These do tend to be rather depressing, and this year’s nominees were no exception. Even so, we put ourselves through this, year after year, to see what talented filmmakers from around the world will come up with. Two are available for streaming using the links provided; otherwise, trailers are available.
You’ll have trouble believing this, but the most feel-good story was an end-of-life story from Denmark (which tells you something about the others). In “On My Mind,” a man (played by Rasmus Hammerich) wanders into a bar early one morning and seems determined to get drunk. He notices a karaoke machine and wants the sympathetic bartender (Camilla Bendix) to cue up “Always on My Mind” so he can sing it, and she can record it, for his dying wife. Alas, the bar-owner (Ole Boisen) is determined to complete work on his taxes, without distraction. Discussion ensues.
The satirical U.S. entry, “Please Hold,” (trailer) anticipates a future when law enforcement, incarceration, and legal aid are handled by drones and automated systems. The hero, a young Latino man (played by Erick Lopez) is arrested apparently for no reason and desperate to explain his plight to a human who can get him out of it. The film has quite a few funny bits, but overall it seems a cautionary tale of corporate technologists run amok. Kafka would love it.
“Alu Kachuu (Take and Run),” Switzerland’s entry (trailer), filmed in beautiful Kyrgyzstan, is the story of limited opportunities for women, made even more limited by forced marriage. Alina Turdumamatova plays the unwilling bride. Beautiful costumes! This film was shown last, and we were already so down in the dumps from two others that our mood colored reaction to this film, but it was excellent.