Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Welcome to our special OSCAR WEEK SERIES of reviews. This series will go through the seven categories in which an award is given based on the entire film (rather than any one constituent element). This third review in the series will go through the LIVE ACTION SHORT nominees.


Ennemis Intérieurs is a short film out of France directed by Selim Azzazi. The film entirely centers around an interview between an Algerian man (born when it was part of France) applying for his French citizenship after having lived there for many years. The main point of the film is the focus on the way this is conducted and how he is connected to potential terror threats by virtue of being Muslim. Overall, I think that this film is effective and will certainly land with many even if it has a few flaws.

I think that the strengths in this film primarily lie in it being compelling narratively and highly topical. It really addresses something in the public consciousness right now with generally solid effect. I also thought that the central construction of this as a short film made a tonne of sense and paid off in the long run. I think that the film has some awkwardly constructed portions of dialogue and, on occasion, bites off a little more than it can chew in terms of expansiveness of its story.

Ryan’s Score: 8/10


La Femme et le TGV is a short film out of Switzerland. Directed by Timo von Gunten, this film tells the story of a woman who waves flags at a train that passes through her town every morning which connects her with the driver which ends up leading to positive life changes. Overall this is an innocent, sweet, and funny short film that is a fine appetizer but not an entrée in terms of its depth.

This reminds me of many of a film of a quirky older woman doing something silly on the surface but growing connections and evolving as a character as a result. In that sense, this is actually pretty strong. Unlike something like The Meddler from last year, this actually managed to capture that sweetness necessary to get audience buy in. Moreover, I think this is a generally well-acted piece. My overall difficulty with it is its simplicity and the lack of impact it had on me. It was fine to watch but hasn’t approached my consciousness since. An enjoyable pick-up viewing but not something that will be remembered for years to come.

Ryan’s Score: 6.5/10


Silent Nights is a short film out of Denmark about an immigrant from Africa who is poor and living in Denmark and the relationship he strikes up with a woman who works at a local shelter. The film is directed by Aske Bang. Put simply, I found this short to be inane and frustrating and my least favorite of any Oscar nominated short film I saw in 2016.

This film contains a variety of seriously frustrating choices by characters and situations that inherently make the audience uncomfortable. In some cases, that sentence is a positive. Here it was just troubling with no underlying point to keep the audience going through the struggle. Every time the story would turn and a new frustrating element would arise I wondered why this short was not over. It isn’t a comedy so I can’t call it a comedy of errors, but it certainly was full of errors and is one short I wouldn’t recommend. In an effort to drag out a positive I thought the performance of the lead female (Malene Beltoft Olsen) was really strong and the story did set up in a way that it might have been interesting.

Ryan’s Score: 4/10


Sing is a short film by director Kristóf Deák. The film tells the story of a girl who starts at a new school with a high caliber, but open to join, choir. All is not as it initially seems and the young girl, her friend, and their classmates must overcome this situation together. Overall I found this to be smart, charming, and a delight to watch.

Sing isn’t anything seriously moving or powerful. What it is is charming to no end and entertaining. If Sing Street was arguably the feel good film of the year, Sing might be the feel good short of the year. The entire audience was laughing and applauding through the end of this delightful film that never overstays its welcome and just works. The only issues with it are that it is a touch cliché and really doesn’t carry any of the dramatic heft that it attempts to carry at one point in the story.

Ryan’s Score: 8/10


Timecode is a short from Spain by director Juanjo Giménez Peña. This short tells the story of two parking garage attendants who discover they have a similar passion which they record nightly on the security footage for one another. This is another pleasant short that is fairly simple in construction and fine in execution.

This short was actually kind of inspiring. I am by no means a filmmaker, but the creation of this short made me wonder what I could do with a couple friends, a camera, and this kind of compelling idea. It is to the point, simple, and puts a smile on your face. This short doesn’t jazz anything up, per se, it just takes you through this situation and makes you fall in love with these two guards. The editing in this really worked wonders for me personally. I think what this film lacks is any kind of production value. It is so simple that it lacks that certain something extra that a superior filmmaker might bring to the table. Don’t get me wrong, Timecode works, just not as well as it might have in better hands.

Ryan’s Score: 6.5/10

Ryan’s Pick: Sing
Ryan’s Prediction: Ennemis Intérieurs
GoldDerby Experts Prediction: Ennemis Intérieurs

Thank you for checking out this article. Be sure to check back with us over the course of the lead up to the 89th Academy Awards!

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