Dark topics were discussed in this year’s shorts
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
2019 was an interesting year for cinema. Many of the films that were released last year could be categorized as “Trump cinema” because many made references to the US President. There were multiple jokes made about politics during the show additionally—the ceremony was very political in many ways.
While the feature films discussed many of these hot partisan topics, the short films that were nominated this year did not reference such issues. The short films did talk about other important subjects though, even—surprisingly—the animated ones do. The Vancity Theatre offers the opportunity to watch the nominated short films, so here is my analysis of them.
The movies that were nominated for Best Live Action Short Film this year are A Sister, Brotherhood, The Neighbors’ Window, Saria, and Nefta Football Club. A Sister involves a 911 dispatcher helping a woman who is held hostage by her husband after being raped. She even must go undercover to make sure that her husband does not find her. Brotherhood shows a Tunisian family of sheep hunters in a dispute, while Saria is a social-issue short film based on the real story of the burning of a group of girls in a Guatemalan camp after they attempted to escape abuse.
The short film that won Best Live Action Short Film this year is The Neighbors’ Window, and it fully deserved the win. It follows a married couple watching another couple who just moved in next door. The film masters the balance of comedy and drama. There is also Nefta Football Club, a movie featuring two cocaine dealers trying to find their (literal) drug mule, yet instead, two kids find the drugs instead. The film has many humorous scenes throughout; it is very much like the Danny Boyle film Millions, a film about a young boy who finds a bag with a lot of money in it.
Usually, the animated short films are fun and heartwarming. This year’s nominated short films are not so. They talk about critical topics and feel like they were made for adults instead of children. The short films that were nominated for Best Animated Short Film this year are Hair Love, Daughter, Sister, Memorable, and Kitbull. Hair Love (which was shown before The Angry Birds Movie 2) involves a father trying to style his daughter’s hair while his wife is absent. Daughter and Memorable were like watching art-house stop-motion films. Especially Daughter—it looked like a Spike Jonze film, though it has smooth cinematography.
Sister should have gotten the Best Animated Short Film this year because it offers a different debate on abortion—specifically, forced abortions. It is a film where a man talks about what his childhood would have been like if he had a sister in China in the 1990s—a time when the country had the infamous one-child policy. The short film is a student film, impressively independently produced and directed by Siqi Song. Kitbull (which was shown before Toy Story 4) shows a cat and a dog having common ground as only Pixar can. The film tackles the issue of pet abuse in a meaningful way.
While the short films that were nominated this year are all from different countries, they talk about issues that everyone can relate to.