2012 Academy Nominated Short Films at the DFT

February 12, 2012 3 Comments

The Detroit Film Theatre has once again offered us the opportunity to experience films not normally shared in the commercial market–hosting a pre-Oscar viewing of the nominees for best animated short and live action short films…this year’s choices span a wide international and broad subject choices screened at the marvelous DFT.

The animated films span Pixar’s endlessly cute “La Luna”, a technically proficient and visually appealing visit to childhood via the moon to the edgy “Dimanche(Sunday), a Canadian film of a similar topic minus the cuteness.  Death is surprisingly present in many of these animated shorts.  “A Morning Stroll” is  an intriguing time travel film (pre and post apocalyptic). whose central character is a chickenr.  My favorite was “Wild Life” a wistful “In the Wild” kind of film about a feckless Brit who dreams of becoming a cowboy in the Canadian frontier..with tragic results.

The live action films are equally interesting.  “Pentecost” is a cleverly sweet Irish film which traverses the boundaries between Catholic ritual and soccer.  Raju is a somewhat predictably sentimental German film about a couple traveling to India to adopt a child.  Time Freak is an all-American entry about the ins and outs of time travel when conducted by somewhat obsessional time traveler.  My favorite is “Tuba Atlantic” a Norwegian film by Hallvar Witzo that captures the Scandanavian ability to mix minimalism and surrealism against the backdrop of the harsh Norwegian landscape.

The DFT is repeating these performances next weekend:  Friday February 17 and 18 at 7pm and Sunday February 19 at 2pm and 7pm….What a terrific opportunity….get ready to cast your Oscar ballots!  Jolyn Wagner

DFT Presents, Must See Movie of the Week
3 Comments to “2012 Academy Nominated Short Films at the DFT”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    Don’t forget “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” among the animated films. It was my favorite with “Wild Life” coming in second. After a storm blows through the town, Mr. Lessmore’s books are blown apart and scattered everywhere. But then they sprout wings and come alive. Why? Because he assumes a new stance towards them, caring for them as they care for him. An ancient volume falls off a ,and he tries to repair it in the normal way with scotch tape, to no avail. It’s only when he starts reading it that it comes to life. And he sleeps in books and wakes in them. In the end, he leaves his book of life to a little girl, who will write her book of life, too. Mr. Lessmore has no relations with people. But aren’t the books mirrors of the lives that their authors lived? I think there is a lot in this little animated film. I don’t think I’m reading all this into it!

    There’s more to Raju than might strike one at first glance. Something ominous is present from the start as the husband does not seem as happy as we’d expect. The adopted son gets lost. Or does he? Is it a scam? Of what sort? Are they recycling children, stealing them, buying them? Why does the policeman at the station say, “We’ll find hin IF he wants to be found”? Will the husband give in to his wife’s wishes or follow his conscience? And what is really going to happen in the end?

    “Tuba Atlantic” has a lot going for it (the friend I went with thought it was clearly the best action film). The death angel goes by the book, and in the end the seagulls shit on it. But, ironically, the old man does go through the stages of dying. What’s the significance of his tuba? Is he justified in treating the seagulls the way he does? Why doesn’t he talk to his brother at the end? Plenty of questions to ponder.

  2. I agree about the magically loving portrayal of books in “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”…I alos thought the wizard of Oz references(flying bicycle and that Kansas house whirling in the sky was very cool…the “talking” Humpty Dumpty book was my favorite,with the way emotions were conveyed with the turning of the pages..it raises(without any dialogue) many interesting questions…the retreat from a trauma-filled life into books, leaving me wondering must it be one or the other? Why was Mr. Lessmore(more or less?) marooned to such a solitary existence? Didn’t he ever hear of book groups? This film might actually have been better as a longer one?

    I also agree about Tuba Atlantic…the opening scene with the plaintive tuba-like ship horn suggests a connection to Oscar’s choice of communication across the water to his estranged brother…he did also sort of play the tuba…sweetly done….and he DID go through the steps with the help of his angel(who also embraces the battle of the gulls)..I think he didn’t speak to his brother because he knew he was out of time…acceptance of what was and used his final words to give “Black Beauty” to Inger…very touching…Jolyn

  3. Bruce Russell says:

    It seems like there is a better possible life for Mr. Lessmore: books and a book group. But for some people a second best sort of life is the best for them…and well-worth living.

    I thought the old man did not take the opportunity to talk to his brother that his angel offered him because he knew that he had already heard him. The tuba was heard across the Atlantic. I imagine that the tuba project was one that he and his brother hatched when they were young. And finally the project,and life, is complete. What better way to announce it to your brother than through the blast of a horn carried westward on a rare west wind?

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