2006 Academy Award Nominated Shorts

Rated NR 2007

Several of this year's short live-action nominees suffer from high-concept ideas marred by too little follow-through. In The Saviour, writer-director Peter Templeman follows a Mormon evangelist's adulterous affair, but oscillates between feeling superior to his religious protagonist and showing him compassion. The glibly satirical West Bank Story turns the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a West Side Story parody, but instead of seeming brave and astute, it comes across as too pleased with itself and not nearly cutting enough. Chronicling an impoverished Senegalese community, writer-director Javier Fesser's well-meaning Binta and the Great Idea has far too many story lines for its 30-minute running time. Several notches above, director Søren Pilmark's comedy-drama Helmer & Søn introduces us to a beleaguered son trying to coax his domineering father out of the rest-home armoire he's hiding in. But the Oscar should go to Spanish director Borja Cobeaga's Éramos Pocos, a black comedy with hints of melancholy around its edges about a spoiled father and son who must finally learn to cook and clean for themselves when Mom abandons them -- unless, that is, they can convince her aging mother to move in and take care of them. Unlike many of these nominees, Cobeaga's film packs enough surprises that its impact is far greater than its length would suggest.

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