Overlooked and Underappreciated

Posted: February 19, 2009 by Sarah in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pre-show grooming, gotta look GOOD.

With all the Oscar-nominated film saturation this winter (not complaining, it’s a welcome change from the “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” of yesteryear), and critics’ raves about so-and-so’s comeback, exorbitant production costs, and the unending media coverage that the Best Picture nominees have been receiving, it’s easy for the lesser-known award categories to get lost amidst the hype and shoved under the red carpet. But it would be an outright crime against cinema to fail to recognize five of the most vivid – albeit shortest – films contending for a shiny little gold man this coming Sunday: Animated Shorts.

They’re funny, clever, and downright adorable. Best of all, you can find full versions or brief clips right online – who said the Internet was a barren wasteland devoid of any culture anyway? (Probably no one, but that was rhetorical.)

Two of my favorites can be found on YouTube:
Directed by: Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Lavatory – Lovestory”
Directed by: Konstantin Bronzit

Admittedly, I’m a little biased, considering I’m a sucker for all things remotely cartoonish (Pixar fans will be happy to find “Presto,” the short that was played right before “Wall-E” in theaters, nominated in this category too), but there’s something so fascinating about how these films can convey their message in such a simple yet visually stunning manner. Most have limited dialogue with straightforward, self-contained plots and quietly, but effectively, make use of color and movement to engage the audience and keep the story going forward.

Oktapodi’s cinematography includes beautiful, sweeping shots of Santorini, Greece (or a place that looks remarkably like it.. excuse the geographical handicap), illuminating the action taking place between the two fully-embellished octopi as protagonists. The short is only two minutes long, but the careful detail and illustration are evidence enough of the ingenuity of its creators, who wanted the film to be “funny and fast-paced, with a crescendo like rhythm.”

As for the more minimal – but no less compelling – “Lavatory-Lovestory,” though it doesn’t have the bursts of color, scenic landscapes and dynamism of Oktapodi, this short from Russian director Konstantin Bronzit puts up a fight in its own whimsical, “awww”-provoking way. It connects you to the bathroom cleaning lady who manages to find, or at least wildly hope for romance within her workplace drudgery and when she finally gets it, an explosion of rampant cuteness occurs and the world is made right again.

This weekend, if you find yourself idling in front of the computer in need of a brief, guilt-free study break, click away and enjoy; at least a smile’s guaranteed.

~Sarah Lee

  1. kabenn03 says:

    these are so cute! i love them! i must say though, Pixar’s “For the Birds” is still one of my ultimate favorites

  2. zac cummings says:

    nice post, sarah! (and it’s ok…i don’t know what Greece looks like either)

  3. Sarah says:

    ohhh i’m a fan of “for the birds” too! pixar just keeps on pumpin out gold. and thanks zac, that makes me feel better though it probably shouldn’t since that’s one more Grecian we’re bound to piss off one day

  4. Sarah says:

    belated correction: Greek*

    i’m a fool. now all of Greece definitely hates me.

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