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Live Action Short Films 2018 Oscars

February 28, 2018

Unlike the animated shorts all these films are excellent, so it is hard to choose. Four were super serious and one (pictured above) was great comic fare from Australia. So quickly, we have My Nephew Emmett based on the true story of a racist murder in Mississippi in 1955. It really puts a powerful spotlight on the nature of racism in the American south and is brilliantly scripted and acted with the tension building to the end. The film does not recreate the actual murder of a young black man visiting family in Mississippi from Chicago. It ends however with a surprise film clip from the real event in which the boy’s uncle describes the event in an interview to the press. Very moving. Next up is Dekalb Elementary, again we have a dramatization of an actual shooting event at a suburban elementary school in the US. This was maybe the weakest of the nominees but that is not to say it wasn’t good. I found myself hoping the worst would not happen and in fact it doesn’t but it paints a very scary picture. Then we move to racism of a different sort with Watu Wote, a story set in Kenya where Al Shabab terrorists threaten the Christian population. The country is rife with Muslim/Christian antagonism leading to massacres and murders. Again we have a dramatization of a true story of a bus that is ambushed by Al Shabab terrorists. The terrorists order everyone out and demand that the Christians be identified in order to kill them. The film follows one Christian woman who has already expressed her dislike of her fellow Muslim passengers having lost her husband and child to a terrorist attack. The Muslims on the bus are however understanding and in the crisis hide her from the terrorists during the attack leading to a story of redemption from the hatred that permeates the country. A very interesting take on racial/religious prejudice and hatred. Next up The Silent Child about a young deaf girl whose family really doesn’t understand how to help. The film is aimed at pushing signing as a solution to integrating those with hearing deficits into everyday life. Very moving again and well done. Finally we have the only one to make my audience break out laughing. The Eleven O’Clock is about a psychiatrist who is awaiting his next patient. He has a temp filling in as his secretary who tells him that the next patient is deluded and thinks he is also a psychiatrist. As the patient arrives for his appointment we begin to question who is the real patient and who is the psychiatrist. The dialogue is fast, furious and totally Monty Pythonesque. I would like it to win because I love comedy and if I end up owning any of these movies it will be The Eleven O’Clock – look up the other short I bought for much the same reasons – Boogaloo and Graham. The truth however is that the Oscar will likely go to Watu Wote or My Nephew Emmett – both very deserving.

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