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: Mixed Bag of Quality in ‘Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012’
CHICAGO – It’s that time of the year when you can get a leg up on your friends at your Oscar party when the short film categories pop up by seeing “Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012: The Animated” and “Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012: The Live Action,” opening around the country tomorrow, February 10th, 2012, and in Chicago at the Landmark Century Cinema. An expected mixed bag of quality, this year’s line-up of ten shorts in two separate programs is stronger than some years and weaker than others. There are stand-outs in both programs including a new short by Pixar (that will play in front of “Brave” this summer) and a stellar drama starring Ciaran Hinds from director Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”). Overall, the live action program is significantly stronger if you only have time for one.
“Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012: The Animated”
In order of quality:
“A Morning Stroll”
Playing with form and style, the creators of this clever gem take a story of a man seeing a chicken walk down a city street, knock on a door, and be let in and turn it into a three-part comedy. Basically, the same story of the chicken who climbed the stairs is presented in stick figures in 1959, more detailed animation in 2009, and pure CGI chaos in 2059. It’s fun and very well-made and the reason it stands out in particular is, unlike most of the shorts, the length feels perfect. Too many this year felt too long or too short. “A Morning Stroll” is perfectly timed and it will make you smile without trying as hard to do so as some of the other entries.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Oscar Shorts 2012” in our reviews section.|
The longest of the animated shorts could have been a live-action film but would have cost a fortune and features an enormous cast. It is the story of a man trying to move to a relatively-unexplored section of the world and missing home and battling mother nature. The idea that relatively aristocratic people once had to give it all up to live in log cabins with brutal weather conditions just to “go west, young man” is a clever one for a short film, animated or not, and this one starts somewhat whimsical but gains a high level of melancholy as it goes on. The brush stroke-style animation adds a level of visual art that helps the piece stand out.
Photo credit: Shorts International