It’s been a bit chaotic over here so we haven’t managed to complete our Oscar watch for the main categories. But we did manage complete all the nominated short features in the animated and live action categories. So here’s a quick take on the best of each.
Ennemis Intériers (Enemies Within)
This film follows an Algerian man (played by Hassam Ghancy) applying for French citizenship in the 90s. What follows is a tense and nuanced exchange that escalates into a battle between security and liberty. Everyone on-screen is great but Ghancy plays his role to perfection. There’s an internal struggle that comes through, a friction between how her sees himself as a French citizen and a how the French authorities treat him. Is it worth it? Isn’t it something he’s already earned, even been born into? There’s a lot going on very quietly and it’s tense as hell.
This is a much lighter short. Luna (Lali Ayguadé) works days as security at a parking garage, trading places with Diego (Nicolas Ricchini) who works nights. They see each other daily and never speak. Over the course of the short they end up developing their own sort of language. It’s fun, funny, cute, and the level of human connection is touching.
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pear Cider and Cigarettes reminded me of Liquid Television, a dark animated anthology series aimed at teenagers and adults. This is a narrated account of Robert (the narrator) and Techno’s relationship until Techno’s death. The story is a series of poor choices and twists of fate. Their relationship is ill-defined as friendship, though there’s a large sense of obligation and dedication that comes through. The emotional path is rough but almost to a comic extent, almost Kafkaesque.
Clocking in at 7 minutes, this is a quick gut punch of a film. It follows a sheriff who goes back to the scene of an incident from his childhood. Produced through Pixar’s Co-op Program, which lets Pixar staff make independent movies using Pixar resources, it shows through the masterful manipulation of narrative. The closest thing I can liken Borrowed Time to is the first ten minutes of Up. It’s that sort of concentrated storytelling, wielded expertly to evoke a specific emotion through human connection, though not the same relationship as Up. It’s heartbreaking and enthralling at the same time.