Presenting varied International Short films that are Oscar eligible. The standard of these films are original and mostly excellent.
Starting with Tech to the Future by Sandro Monetti, not surprisingly, it is something otherworldly. The only non-fiction film here, the mood is like a news item straight out of Robocop. On-screen narrator Francis Hellyer proclaims that technology will lead us to a brighter future. His defiant sound bite: “Forget all the dystopian doom and gloom.” Subsequently, he visits various innovative tech industries. These range from a flying car development to AI digital replicas – a cloned Bruce Willis anyone?
Nakam from Ukraine is based on a true story in World War Two. It cultivates a good use of period setting, atmosphere and mise-en-scene. Ultimately it seems to question the circumstances and morality of killing, regardless of justified conviction.
The Bangladesh entry Moshari (a Mosquito net) hauntingly builds up suspense and tension well. This is achieved by allowing the psychology and paranoia its own freedom of projection. Most importantly, it pulls back from the border of implausibilities. These mature qualities serve the denouement well.
Meanwhile, The Silent Echo is a bitter-sweet snapshot of aspirations to escape remote life. A young Nepali singer travels by long-distance bus for a music talent contest. However, his performance does not get the response he hoped for. His dedicated efforts in vain, he travels back home, to the beginning again. Silent Echo won London’s Raindance Film Festival Shorts in 2021.
The Tommaso Acquarone-directed I miei occhi (My Eyes) concerns a woman caught up in traffic. Speaking on her mobile phone, she is already containing private tension. Soon, she offers a lift to a street performer she has seen before. The rest of the film promises greater suspense but ultimately reaches a juncture. Therefore, a good idea gets stuck in a dead end.
A wayward teenager in The Wake is frustrated by his live-wire father and passive mother. Accompanied by his deaf younger brother he seeks an outlet for his emotions. Breaking into houses and stealing token items he dubiously achieves this aim. However, an inexorable trajectory occurs after he finds a gun in a local house. The somewhat unexpected ending rounds off an original take on the suspense drama.
Finally, War of Colors is a heartfelt plea for sympathy for those born with the albino condition. A pretty, intelligent, and sensitive young woman finds discrimination even within her own race. Her brave and disheartening struggle for acceptance is both compelling and thought-provoking. Diandra Forrest excels as the central character in this another worthy Oscar short contender.
~ By Steven Yates entertainment contributor.