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Oscar Preview: Best Live Action Short

If you’re looking for life-affirming joy, this might not be the best Oscar category for you to look at. However, if you’re looking to take a complete, emotional journey without much of a time commitment, this is a great place to start.

Brotherhood

A young man returns to his family’s home in Tunisia after several years away fighting the war in Syria. While his mother and brothers are happy to see him, his father is less welcoming, particularly of his new Syrian bride. After a contentious few days together, the relationship reaches its tipping point. (Director: Meryam Joobeur)

★★★½ of ★★★★★

Nefta Football Club

Two young, soccer-obsessed Tunisian brothers happen upon the most mysterious thing in the middle of nowhere – a donkey wearing headphones and carrying packages full of white powder. For very different reasons, the siblings decide to bring their find back to their village. (Director Yves Piat)

★★★★ of ★★★★★

The Neighbor’s Window

In a sort of domestic ‘Rear Window’ scenario, a married couple begins spying on the younger, less inhibited couple that has moved in across the street. While raising their children and dealing with the day-to-day rigors of adulthood, the couple is reminded of the people they once were. (Director: Marshall Curry)

★★★½ of ★★★★★

Saria

Inspired by the real-life events of a 2017 tragedy at the Virgen de la Asunción Safe Home, the film focuses on the lives and hardships that the young women – including the title character – endured at the home. (Directors: Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre)

★★★★ of ★★★★★

A Sister

Finding herself in a dangerous situation – in a car at night with someone she barely knows – a young woman places a phone call that could either be her salvation or her last words to the world. (Director: Delphine Girard)

★★★★ of ★★★★★

From top to bottom, this is a very strong category, with my two favorites being ‘Hair Love’ and ‘Memorable.’ While I think the latter is the stronger, more emotional story, its unorthodox animation style may not be fore everyone. Add that to an adorable, relatable story about a father and daughter, and I think it will be hard to overcome.

Will win: The Neighbor’s Window

Should win: A Sister

Could win: Brotherhood

Three of the five nominees – Brotherhood, Saria, A Sister – are quite heavy, while Nefta Football Club comes in more on the lighter side. Falling somewhere in between, and riding more of an emotional roller coaster, is The Neighbor’s Window. Because it’s a bit lighter without going full-on comedy, I think it will appeal more to voters. I prefer A Sister because it’s gut-wrenching in the same way that last year’s nominee Mother was – a slow burn that grows more tense by the moment. But given that didn’t work last year, I don’t expect to this year.

Locally, this collection of shorts is showing this week at Landmark Lagoon in Minneapolis.

More info from Shorts TV

© 2020 by Man Versus Movie

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