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‘Oscars’ nominated shorts: Documentaries part one

Poster for 'The Lady in Number 6
Nick Reed Enter

Oscar nominated short subjects documentaries


You’ve all heard the names of the Oscar nominated films such as: “Nebraska, American Hustle, Captain Phillips and Philomena” are just a few of the big films nominated this year.

Most of you, dear readers, can’t name any of the short subjects that are nominated for 2014. Below are the names of the docs, a small synopsis and a small review of each.

Yemini-Scot director Sara Ishaq, was nominated for “Karama Has No Walls.” Filmed during 2011 when Yemen was in upheaval, it is a disturbing look at a people who are disposable to their government.

While peacefully protesting in the Change Square, 53 people were killed while trying to make their voice heard by a regime with seemingly no ears.

The horror of the day is on film for all to see. Two very brave cameramen made sure that the carnage was caught on tape for all to see.

Two stories stand out of the 53 dead from that day: Saleem Al-Harazi, was on his way to the store to get bread for his mom. He was shot in the face, through his eyes. I can’t understand how he lived, but I’m sure there are many who believe divine intervention had a lot to do with it. He is, however, living blind. His family talks about the day and how they found him.

The other story is about Anwar Al-Muati who was a young man caught in the gunfire. His father tells the story of how he found his son, dead, already put in a draw in the morgue.

Ms. Ishaq’s film never blinks, or looks away from something that is ugly. That is the point of this film.

Even though most of this film is done during very unsafe times/places, it isn’t hard to see what is going on and what it means. The nomination for “Karama Has No Walls” is well deserved.

“The Lady in Number Six” is the amazing story of the oldest living holocaust survivor.

Alice Herz who lives in Northern London is the subject of this delicately handled short doc. She is of particular note, not just for her advanced age, 110 (she was 109 at the time of this film, but for giving the world her beautiful music for 100 years. Some of that playing was at

Alice’s neighbors count on her classical piano music every day. She plays Bach, Beethoven and Schuber, (whom she played by special request of Josef Mengele).

A professional pianist all of her life the Jewish Alice was taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Theresienstadt was a feeder camp for Auschwitz. The camp was for musical celebrities among the Jews. It was also for propaganda. “Look how great we treat the Jews.”

Alice played piano for her fellow prisoners, but also touched the hearts of some of the Nazi soldiers. One of which thanked her for the beautiful music that got he and some of his fellow soldiers through the horror of the war.

Alice, who is outspoken, is also wise and that following quotes are straight from the film:

“What we learn in school is important, but much more important is the atmosphere of your him, with your parents.”

“Music is God” While in camp, music was her faith.

“Survival was a matter of attitude, I never felt like a victim, I felt like an observer.”

“Jews were born twice, once at birth and once when being released from the camps.”

See this film if you get a chance, it’s charming, sad and beautiful all at the same time.

Stay tuned for part two of the Oscar nominated short docs.

The Oscar nominated shorts, both docs, animated and live action, are playing at selected theaters. Check your favorite theater to see if it’s playing. They are also available online, iTunes and some are on DVD.

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