CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: ‘Oscar Shorts 2011’ Features a Few Memorable Highlights
CHICAGO – Has there ever been a consistent shorts program that delivered 5-star quality from start to finish? By their very nature, programs of short films seem destined to offer something more of a mixed bag and the unusual nominees selections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences typically makes up a series of average shorts with a few highlights. This year is no different.
Overall, there are surprisingly few truly amazing shorts in either the animated or live-action offerings this year. There’s nothing as instantly impressive as “Manon on the Street” or “Le Maison en Petits Cubes” from two years ago, two of the best shorts I’ve ever seen, but there’s also nothing truly awful. Every one of the shorts this year has a few positives and negatives and each program ends with the best installment, a fact that should leave ticket buyers smiling on their way out the door. It’s hard to believe that these are the ten best shorts of the year (or a sad statement on the fact that there aren’t ten 5-star shorts produced in a year) but it’s a case of a good program that is only disappointing if one hopes that the Oscar nominees would be great instead of just good.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Oscar Shorts 2011” in our reviews section.|
In order of presentation:
This Irish offering features two boys on the verge of becoming men learning about the concept of confession in Catholic school. The way it’s presented they believe that to be a good Catholic, they need to have something to confess. And so they go about committing a sin. Of course, their child-like attempt to scare someone turns into something deadly and “The Confession” becomes something much darker. This ominous piece looks beautiful but the kids are a bit ineffective on a performance level and the final twist seems a bit forced. Strong visuals, a great concept, and an impressively foreboding tone make it interesting but it’s held back from brilliance by the experience level of everyone involved. Rating: 3.5/5.0.
Photo credit: Shorts International