For all the Oscar’s downfalls (of which there are numerous), there is one positive aspect, and that is highlighting the genius of short films, most of which are never seen by the public, either through inaccessibility or lack of interest. This is truly regrettable, considering the nominated films of this year are veritable gems of cinema, and are as uplifting, moving, and clever as any 90+ minute feature could only hope to be.

Pentecost (Ireland, dir. Peter McDonald)

A wryly humourous take on adolescent defiance in religiously rigid 1970’s Ireland, demonstrating that you can take the boy out of football, but you can’t take the football out of the boy.

Raju (Germany/India, dir. Max Zähle)

Possibly my favourite of the short film nominations this year, and one I would dearly love to see as a full-length feature. Parental fears are realised in a dizzyingly foreign environment, and put to the ultimate test in a moral dilemma.

The Shore (Northern Ireland, dir. Terry George)

Ireland itself almost seems to be the main character in this film, as the narrative draws on themes of homecomings and reconciliation. Although the ending was slightly unsatisfactory, it is warmly funny and ends with a real sense of of family between the characters as all is forgiven.

Time Freak (USA, dir. Andrew Bowler)

Possibly my least favourite of the shorts, but still adequate. While it raises interesting questions on the metaphysical implications of time travel, I do wish the “‘geeky-boy-awkwardly-trying-to-impress-girl” trope would die.

Tuba Atlantic (Norway, dir. Hallvar Witzo)

A lovely existential and ironic parable of death and life that almost strays into the realm of magical realism. It is also cinematographically the most impressive of the films, featuring the isolated and frigid landscape of northern Norway, amidst which the splash of bright yellow of a raincoat makes both an aesethetic and metaphorical point.

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