75th Annual Academy Awards Short Films

75th Annual Academy Awards Short Films

Short films have their own succinct pleasures, but they’re almost impossible to see outside of occasional festival screenings. So it’s delightful that all of the short animated and live-action films nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 have been packaged together for home viewing. The two American animated shorts are, perhaps unsurprisingly, comic–a Pixar snippet featuring characters from Monsters, Inc. and a clever sci-fi shaggy-dog story (“The ChubbChubbs!,” that year’s
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2 thoughts on “75th Annual Academy Awards Short Films”

  1. Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I finally found time to view this collection of delightful films after having bought it nearly a year ago. I enjoyed the entire group, although I found the live-action shorts to be the most entertaining AND thought-provoking.
    I don’t agree with the choice of the eventual winner of Best Animated Short Film, The ChubbChubbs. It was cute and clever with a twist, but I think several others are better. My favorite is the Polish release, The Cathedral, with its spooky, gothic, Lovecraftian imagery. Second best was the Japanese Atama Yama, about a man described as a miser who has a compulsion to save everything which might later prove useful. His favorite food is the cherry, because they are free. Watch what happens when he eats the cherry pit so as not to waste it! Das Rad, the German entry, provides an imaginative view of humanity as seen from a rock’s perspective and Mike’s New Car is just merely cute.
    It is much harder to choose the best of the Live Action Short Films. After mulling them over, I’ll have to stick with the Academy’s choice, although all four of them have some claim to the title “best”. The winner is a very contemporary story set in Denmark that takes on a LOT of issues in a short time and deals with them in a way that has the viewer nodding in recognition. Though a bureaucratic/Eurocratic mix-up, the unemployed Lars Hansen becomes Pakistani immigrant El Hassan and is commanded by letter that he must take Danish lessons. When he tries to have the mistake corrected, he is given the runaround in a way that nearly everyone who has dealt with bureaucracy can identify with.
    The story becomes a comedy of errors in which issues germane to life in Denmark today (as well as in most other First World countries) are dealt with: immigration, political correctness, widespread resentment of the PC culture, the inanities of an obtuse bureaucracy, and to sweeten it up, love. You’ll have to see it for the surprise comic ending.
    Right on This Charming Man’s tail nips Inja, ostensibly the story of a dog, but really a story of relations between the races in South Africa and how a white farmer’s method of training his dog to recognize him as its boss comes back to bite him in the arse at a crucial time. Great scenery and the human factor make this one a must-see.
    The French entry, I’ll Wait For the Next One is brief, clever, and emotionally brutal. The acting is first-rate. The other film, Gridlock, is a Flemish-Belgian entry about a harried businessman caught in traffic who decides to call his wife to let her know he will be home late. What happens next is the stuff of nightmares.
    If you enjoy cinema, and particularly if you enjoy the intelligent and the unusual, then consider this DVD to have been compiled just for you. I highly recommend it!

  2. What a great idea for a DVD. I’ve often said that I wished there was a way to see all the Oscar nominated shorts. Well, my prayer was answered, at least for one year. It’s a tragedy that a similar disc hasn’t been done for every year. These movies, which filmmakers pour so much blood and sweat into, are hardly seen by anyone. Such a disc certainly helps a little. But I enjoyed the one I had to watch.

    The animated shorts were overall stronger, I think. CHUBB-CHUBBS (the winner) was delightfully funny. Animation style similar to the Pixar films, but with a delightful main character and some very fanciful animation. Also enjoyed the cameo appearances by the likes of Darth Vadar. Speaking of Pixar, MIKE’S NEW CAR, which has been available on the MONSTER’S INC. DVD was also nominated. It’s certainly funny, but adds nothing new to the CGI world. THE ROCKS, from Germany, runs a close second to the CHUBB-CHUBBS. It’s more of a stop motion film, about how slowly time creeps by for rocks. We basically see the entire evolution of the world (and into the future) through the eyes of two piles of rocks. Clever stuff. The other two shorts are more “artsy” in nature. THE CATHEDRAL looks like the opening sequence to a fantasy video game, and nothing more…I was underwhelmed. ATOMO YATA, the Japanese entry, was done in an interesting, calligraphic style, but the story left me scratching my head.

    In the live short category, THIS CHARMING MAN was the winner. In a way, I thought that was unfair, because it’s about 30 minutes long and the others are much, much shorter. But on its own, it’s a funny story about immigration in Denmark. The lead actors are both very charming and the entire movie is light-hearted, and a great entry in the “geeky guy gets a nice girl” genre that comes out of Europe so often.

    I’LL WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE is super short, and feels more like a clever commercial with a nasty / sad twist at the end. I really enjoyed GRIDLOCK (the only film that isn’t for minors), with a great twist ending. It’s not deep, but it’s a terrific example of the form. Take a story that I can easily see someone stretching out into a 30 minute TV episode (and diluting its impact), and keep it short. Just get across exactly what you need to get across and nothing more. I liked it, and think most viewers will. Finally, there was the interesting film from Australia, DOG, which is set in South Africa. It is making a point about the shift in power in South Africa from the eras during and after apartheid. It’s a good film, but I gotta tell ya, the last five seconds left me baffled. What the heck happened? I don’t think of myself as a slow-learner, but I have no idea how the story ended.

    Overall, this collection has some great ups and some minor downs. It is certainly worth watching…everyone will like at least some of it. And if there’s something you don’t care too much for, it’ll be over soon.

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