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Just in time for the Academy Awards ceremonies at the end of February, there will be screenings of 2 programs of short featurettes – live action and animated shorts.  These run from February the 10th  and make a welcome change from feature films.  These are the budding filmmakers who might make it big one day in Hollywood.

The total running time of this animated shorts program is 130 minutes.  The program runs for Feb 10th to the 16th at different times each day at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  The Live Action program is the most international of all the programs.

For complete showtimes, click on the link below:

Capsule Reviews of each live action short are outlined below:-


Directed by Selim Aazzazi

An interview at a local police station turns into an inquisition during which a French-Algerian born man sees himself accused of protecting the identities of possible terrorists.  This close-up of France’s troubled history with its former colonies has one man controlling the fate of another with the stroke of a pen during a turbulent period in the 1990s.  The film is basically  two handler with the two men arguing with each other.  The film is clearly biased towards the Algerian, even though the narrative does not stay in one direction.

LA FEMME ET LE TGV (Switzerland 2016) ****

Directed by Timo von Gunten

This French short from Switzerland tells the tale of elderly woman, Elise Lafontaine and the Le Grand Trains Vitesse (GTV), the high speed train.  Her daily routine is to wave the Swiss glad every morning and evening the train passes her house by the tracks.  She leads a humdrum life cycling to work in her barry store in the town of Monbijou.  Things take a turn when she starts exchanging notes with the driver daily.  I want to live life again, she tells her son who thinks she should be in a home.  This is a very charming and beautiful film based on true events about hope and living.  Elise is wonderfully portrayed by veteran French actress Jane Birkin.  

SILENT NIGHTS (Denmark 2016) ***
Directed by Aske Bang

What is remarkable about this 30 minute short is the amount of material in the story that should easily fill a full-length feature.  The story follows Inger, a Danish single woman who volunteers at a homeless shelter.  She meets, pities and falls in love with an illegal immigrant from Ghana, Kwame who hides the fact that he has a family back home.  Ing has a mother who is old and eventually passes away.  SILENT NIGHTS is set during Christmas and shows how human decency prevails.  A touching and moving short, well acted and directed.

SING (Hungary 2015) ****
Directed by Kristof Deak

SING is my pick for the Best Live Action Short.  The entire project is a metaphor for the prejudice present in the modern adult world.  And the children in this choir show the audience how to deal with the problem.  Zsofi is struggling to fit in at her new school and singing in the school’s famous choir is her only consolation.    However the choir director may not be the inspirational teacher everyone thinks she is.  Zsofi is told her singing is not good enough.  She is told to mime during the performances.  Zsofi and her new friend Liza work to uncover the cruel truth and set things right.  Brilliant and wonderfully executed!

TIMECODE (Spain 2016) ***
Directed by Juanjo Gimemez Pena

This Cannes short Palme d;Or Winner tells the story of two parking security guards Diego and Luna.  Diego works the night while Luna the day shift.  They communicate through the video surveillance recordings at the timecode each of them leaves at the end of their shifts.  Irrelevant, comical and utterly charming, this is also Spanish dance at it most original.  Do not try to logically analyze the narrative, the trick is to just enjoy the its flow.


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2 thoughts on “Film Review: OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS – LIVE ACTION

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