Movie Log 2013

16. Academy Award-Nominated Live Action Shorts (IFC Center)

16a. Death of a Shadow (dir. Tom Van Avermaet)

Matthias Schoenarts plays a dead soldier who photographs people dying (he only sees them as shadows unless he’s using his magic camera) and then delivering them to a dude who evaluates the deaths aesthetically and posts them on a wall. Yeah. They don’t quite do enough with the concept for my tastes, though, and it kind of boils down to some pretty boring romance.

16b. Henry (dir. Yan England)

A thriller about an aging pianist for about 5 minutes, and then the allegory kicks in heavy. This sits about halfway between genuinely touching and way cloying (the score, as is often the case, doesn’t help).

16c. Curfew (dir. Shawn Christensen)

I’m kinda convinced that this dude is straight doing a Ryan Gosling accent, because the Ryan Gosling accent is, famously, a made up accent, right? I liked Curfew least out of these five; it’s about a suicidal junkie and his chipper niece and the madly-shifting tone doesn’t work for me.

16d. Buzkashi Boys (dir. Sam French)

Gorgeous desaturated photography of Kabul here. The story involves two young boys’ dream (a very local dream, mind you) of being a Buzkashi rider (that’s that sport that was in the news for a while when we invaded Afghanistan; it involves a goat carcass). It balances the sadness of an economic reality in which most young men’s dreams are unrealistic with an acknowledgement of the dignity of labor. This was my fav of the bunch.

16e. Asad (dir. Bryan Buckley)

Asadmanages to balance some slight whimsy with the horrors of war-torn Somalia. It’s good.