The comments in the post below already are illuminating. Sure some people want to champion the genre and even want to broaden it's scope but as far as the Motion Pictures Academy is concerned, I don't know how they can continue to present this award.
I was able to watch a DVD Magnolia Home Entertainment put out of 2007's nominated and winning short films (all five live action films, and two in the animated category.) Attempting to watch these film my two frustrations became clear.
I have posted the clip of "West Bank Story" below. This West Bank Story tells a 15-or-so minute retelling of West Side Story (a retelling of Romeo & Juliet) in Israel with two competing falafel restaurants, the Jewish "Kosher King" and the Arab "Hummus Hut." Through music and dance, this ridiculous story is funny...but only for about thirty seconds, to which point the gag is no longer funny.
How did West Bank Story ever get nominated and win in this category? In attempting to sit through the other 4 nominated films you realize that there really isn't that much competition, and because there is no commercial motivation for the short film format, there really is no drive to create quality work. I believe the standard in this category is two low if a unimpressive short film like "West Bank Story" wins the award.
The animation winner "The Danish Poet" was such a magical little short film. The film playfully ponders the ideas of fate and possibility in a very magical and enjoyable film. The Norwegian film is directed by Torill Kove's and narrated by two time Oscar nominee Liv Ullmann.
The clip below of the Danish Poet doesn't do the film justice. It's tone and story telling is perfect for the short film format. The Danish Poet would lose all it's magic as a feature length film. Yet it saddens me that relatively no one has seen it. And even fewer people would have seen it if it hadn't been recognized by the Academy. I wish there were a way to make films like this more accessible. I wish movie theaters would show this in the theater while I'm waiting for the film to start, or something.
But in the absence of a large audience base, the Academy Awards does not seem like the place to award unseen films. Maybe this is a consumeristic attitude rather than an artful attitude, but I believe the award show is cheapened when winners in short film (animated, live action, and documentary) are drawn from a small pool of films that no one has seen.
Posted Feb 13, 2007
A musical comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands on the West Bank.
Posted Feb 13, 2007
Kasper, a young poet in search of inspiration, travels to Norway to meet the celebrated writer, Sigrid Undset.