2 items from 2016
In a year in which the best picture presenter could conceivably announce, “And the Oscar goes to … ‘The Big Short,’” will the little shorts get any love? The answer is: They already have. Thanks to an 11-year effort by ShortsHD to bring Oscar’s least-seen categories to audiences, the nominated short films have collectively out-earned previous editions — which is more a testament to the company’s dedication than any one of its individual nominees. The live-action shorts themselves represent a range of solid if somewhat calculated calling cards from helmers who’ve studied at film schools around the world, now enjoying exposure across nearly all conceivable platforms.
Though amusingly irreverent, Basil Khalil’s nonsensical “Ave Maria” serves up a comedic detente between Arabs and Israelis, centered around an implausible crisis in which a Jewish family’s car breaks down outside a Palestinian convent along the road through the West Bank. »
- Peter Debruge
Ahead of the Academy Awards, we’re reviewing each short category. See the Live Action section below and the other shorts sections here.
Ave Maria – Palestine/France/Germany – 15 minutes
Director Basil Khalil and co-writer Daniel Yáñez have come up with a cutely comic conceit for their short film Ave Maria. It’s the West Bank—miles from civilization—and a car carrying a Jewish man, his wife, and his mother crashes into a Catholic church run by five Arab nuns who have taken a vow of silence. If everyone follows the rites of their religion, the women able to help the family mustn’t talk and the family, who realize that it’s now the Shabbat, can’t operate any machinery necessary to move along. It’s quite the conundrum for the devout and a perfect recipe for discovering a common ground as human beings with enough laughs to keep us entertained for the duration. »
- Jared Mobarak
2 items from 2016
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