REVIEW: 2015 Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts

In Movies by P.N. GuinLeave a Comment

A Single Life
This animated short, which is just two minutes and some change, is oddly impressive. I started out thinking that this was going to be a dumb animated short of a girl (that looks a lot like Despicable Me’s minions)… but it quickly turned into more than that.

In the animated short, directed by Joris Oprins, Marieke Blaauw, and Job Roggeveen, the single female in her apartment puts on a vinyl record of the song “A Single Life,” which turns out to control time as the music progresses. The character realizes this and first tries to skip ahead in life, then accidentally goes back to childhood after she finds out she has a child, and then to old life on accident again.

The final scene has her “quickly” racing with her walker and grey hair to the record player before the song — and time — runs out. The ending is perfect. Watch it to find out. Skeptical as I was at first, I found myself watching this short several times before moving on. Most likely, I’ll watch it a few more times. Funny and slightly, humorously morbid… that’s just my style.

Me and My Moulton
1965 in Norway is the setting of this animated short, which features a female lead and her two sisters, one older and one younger. “I am always middle,” she starts out saying. Written and directed by Torill Kove, this film is best summed up by the last its last four words, “…almost exactly as planned.”

The middle sister narrating describes a life that is different than her friends’, and she wishes to be normal — even pushed to be so by her grandmother. But her parents are different than other parents…

It’s a wonderful look into the mind of a young girl. The animation is surprisingly good, and grows on you more as you watch it. Predictable as it may be — a young girl who wants to be happy finds her way while still being different — it is still a good short. It’s worth a watch.

Directed by Patrick Osborne and Kristina Rees, Feast tells the story of a man and a stray puppy from an odd perspective — the dog’s food. One of the two U.S. films to be Oscar nominated, this digital short is endearing and touching in its message of companionship between the stray and the man, and the digital artwork lives up to the nomination.

While it might not be for everyone, I watched it twice before moving on. Take a look yourself and see what you think of Feast.

The Bigger Picture
Director Daisy Jacobs brings this film to life, telling the sad but all-too-true story of two brothers quarreling as their elderly mother worsens and needs care. This film combines paint with digital animation, a combination I haven’t seen before and is quite frankly stunning. As the husband of an artist, I can appreciate this all the more and applaud the filmmakers for their skill in craft.

Two brothers — the professional one, and the one who cares — is an old story twice-told, but this short gives it a little new life. What is best in the film, sort from the artwork itself — is what is said, and what is not said. Like jazz, it’s the notes that aren’t played which strike a chord in this short and will resonate with anyone who has had a sick loved one.
Applause might be appropriate at the end of this film.

The Dam Keeper
This animated short, at 18 minutes, is the longest of the bunch and would surely get my vote for best in class. In various styles, from digital animation, to nearly stop-action, black and white and surrealism, The Dam Keeper is the best short in style and work alone.
The story it tells, however, is even better. The dam keeper is a young pig, all alone and without parents, who is ridiculed and bullied for being a pig — despite the fact that his job is to keep the “darkness” away by keeping the dam windmill running. When a new student at his school, a fox with the skill of drawing, becomes his friend, things seem to change. Or do they?

On story, style and cinematography, The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi is the best of the Oscar nominated animated short films. Don’t miss this one.

All these animated short films are set for release on January 30, so make sure you watch them and judge for yourself.

Amazing work by all the filmmakers and artists on this set of shorts.

Keep ’em coming!

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