Monday, February 18, 2013

Movies: Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Short Films 2013 - The Dark Side Of Life

Yesterday I had the occasion to see the Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Short Films 2013 at New York´s IFC cinema theater (ifccenter  -program-b. All these Oscar candidates show the dark side of life: Cancer, poverty, old-age, homelessness and what else.

The collection contains 5 films, all produced in the U.S.

"Redemption" (35 minutes) is about people in New York who collect and redeem garbage cans & bottles for a living. Maybe Hollywood is interesting in this topic because Tinseltown produces so much garbage by itself? Anyway, the flick shows even New Yorkers things which usually don`t appear on their radar screens, especially the tough competition in this profession. But 35 minutes?

"Kings Point" (39 minutes) reports about seniors who had chosen to spend the rest of their lives at a retirement place in sunny Florida. You could listen to a lot of philosophical monologues from those old timers. But do you really want to give them 39 minutes of your life?

"Monday At Racine" (39 minutes) is the most painful film of this collection. The flick focuses on breast cancer patients who get whigs in a beauty saloon on New York`s Long Island for camouflaging the optical results of their chemo therapies. The producers confront and torture their audience with the fates of these women including broken down marriages. 

"Open Heart" (39 minutes) has a bit more optimistic message and could be a real contender for the Oscar. The flick is shot in Africa and tells the stories of some children from Ruanda with a severe heart decease. They are flown to the Sudan which has the only clinic in Africa which can surgically treat those patients. I was impressed how confident and bold those kids responded to their challenging & risky journeys. The flick also gave a glimpse into the demanding political & financial situation of this clinic in a very unstable country.

My personal favorite is "Innocente" (39 minutes). This is a Cinderella story about a homeless girl whose optimism & love to colors offer her a way out of her dire situation. The film focuses on the 16 year old daughter of Mexican immigrant mother, who almost doesn´t speak English, and a father, who got deported to Mexico because of his domestic violence. But the girl`s artistic talents, humor and intelligence seem to be the foundation of a career as an artist.

I liked the positive approach of this film, which fits to the girl´s gaudy paintings. But even "Innocente" was too long, as every film in this collection, and  could have needed some editing, But I guess the Hollywood establishment choose this collection to demonstrate their liberal commitment. Coming Sunday will show how they choose.

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