This week the Enzian Theater in Maitland is screening the films nominated for Academy Awards in the Live Action and Animated Short Films categories. This is a rare opportunity to catch some of the short films nominated for Oscars which would be hard to see otherwise.
All five of the animated shorts share an interesting characteristic: not one of the films contain a word of dialogue. This is not a detriment as all five shorts are so visually strong that dialogue would diminish them. The shorts represent various forms of animation, including stop-motion, CG, claymation, and several films drawn traditionally by hand.
The collection opened with Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'. It should be noted that even those who are not fans of The Simpsons television show will be pleasantly surprised by this subversively funny and unexpectedly touching film, in which baby Maggie finds herself at the sinister Ayn Rand School for Tots. If you laughed at the name of the daycare, this is definitely up your alley.
Adam and Dog explains the bond between dogs and people, as the filmmakers insert a loyal canine into the Biblical story of creation. The traditional animation is absolutely beautiful, though the story is slightly heavy handed.
I had the pleasure of seeing Fresh Guacamole at the 2012 Florida Film Festival. This film embodies the term "short" at only 2 minutes, but the originality of the stop-motion film, in which a bowl of guacamole is made from random household objects, makes it my upset pick to win the Oscar.
Head Over Heels is a sweet romance about Walter and Madge, a long married couple whose years of drifting apart are literally represented by the fact that Madge lives upside down on the ceiling. How they reconnect and overcome their gravity-challenged situation is entertaining and poignant.
Paperman is another romance, this one concerning a chance encounter between a man and a woman commuting to work in 1950's New York City. The story goes from a sweet comedy of errors into the realm of magic realism. This Disney short is beautifully realized, and is the likely front runner at the Academy Awards.
Stay tuned for my reviews of the nominated live action shorts. And be sure to visit the Enzian and check out the films yourself. For ticket info, visit the Enzian website here.