Saturday, March 17, 2007

Out of the Oscar limelight, great short films do win

You can see the Oscar-winning short animated film The Danish Poet online (for now), with crisp and understated narration from Liv Ullmann. It's a simple story well told.

I saw it at New York's newish IFC theater with the Oscar-nominated animated and live action shorts, and picked it and live action satire West Bank Story to win because I liked them most. And they won! It's reassuring that while the big awards might still go to The Departed, Crash and American Beauty, many Academy voters show good taste when hype and industry politics are removed. Oscar predictions and critics--including the NY Times--favored Disney's faithful but cutesy remake of Hans Christian Andersen's oft-filmed story The Little Match Girl (the haunting 1937 trick film is on YouTube) and the overwrought UNICEF-sponsored Binta and the Great Idea.

In 2003, the brilliant Danish short There is a Lovely Man won; it followed a white man whose dating service erroneously reports that he is Muslim, thus attracting a Danish woman fascinated by his foreignness. Smitten, he begins impersonating a Pakistani, calling himself El Hassan, and desperately trying to avoid conversations in Urdu.
Blogger ksf on Mon Mar 19, 12:22:00 AM:
Thank you for the link to The Danish Poet. I saw it at a Oscar shorts screening and have been looking for it online ever since.