The Oscar nominated shorts have arrived in three programs (documentary, animation, and narrative) to local screens, and this is a great opportunity to see the films in contention before the winners are announced in a month.
Here’s my take on the animated shorts.
Feral: The story of a feral child discovered by a hunter in the woods, this is an uncommonly beautiful and compelling film, painterly in the best possible way.
Get a Horse: If you’ve seen Frozen, then you’ve had an opportunity to see this charming, Disney cartoon before the feature. The antics of Mickey and Minnie link early Disney to today in delightful ways.
Mr. Hublot: The visuals are crisp and inventive with more to look at in each frame than can be comfortably processed, but that is not a criticism.
Possessions: I love the evocation of light in this film. Like Get a Horse, this Japanese film links the past and the present but does so obliquely to make compelling points about consumerism, over-consumption, and the burdens and hazards of a throw-away society.
Room on the Broom: If I love the painterly-ness of Feral, the whimsy of Get a Horse, the inventive design of Mr. Hublot, and the rendering of light and message of Possessions, I love Room on the Broom most of all. And, my fondness, actual glee at times watching the film, comes not from the animation (though the expressions on the cat’s face are a performative wonder and the shades of green and rust dazzle me) but from the story. I am drawn to stories about community, and this is a satisfying one.