Oscar-nominated live-action shorts, a collection of dark and desperate stories
“OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS: LIVE ACTION”
Rated R. In Danish, Polish and Kyrgyz with subtitles. At Coolidge Corner Theater and Landmark Kendall Square.
In the Danish entrance “In my thoughts,” one of the Oscar-nominated shorts: Live Action, a strange, clueless man (Rasmus Hammerich) walks into a bar in the afternoon and after drinking a glass of whiskey offers to pay almost anything to sing the “Always on My Mind” ballad using the bar’s closed karaoke system. This causes friction between the stranger and the reluctant and tough bar owner (Ole Boisin), who is trying to calculate his taxes, and the cheeky and compassionate bartender (Camilla Bendix), who wants to give the troubled customer a break. It doesn’t sound like much, but Hammerich’s intensity blazes like fireworks, and if the payoff is a bit sentimental, it’s also going to make you cry.
At KD Davila “Please wait,” a future fast food worker named Mateo Torres (a terrific Erick Lopez) is arrested by a drone and locked away without human contact. In his remote-controlled cell, Mateo is prompted by a computer screen to plead guilty or face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. He does not know what he is accused of. Co-written by Davila and Omer Levin Menekse.
In the Polish entrance “The dress,” the first in this category, leading lady Anna Dzeiduszycka delivers a powerful turn as Julka, a dwarf housekeeper at a hotel frequented by truckers. One night, chain-smoking and obsessively gambling Julka notices a trucker named Bogdan (Szymon Piotr Warszawski) staring at her. The next day, he asks her out for a smoke, and they sit down and talk. He asks her for an appointment when he returns from his trip. She decides she must have a new dress for the occasion. “The Dress” is dark, but Dzeiduszycka’s raw performance is worth it.
‘Sound of Metal’ star Riz Ahmed stars again in chilling cautionary tale “The long farewell,” which he co-wrote with director Aneil Karia. In the film, Ahmed plays a member of a British immigrant family who is attacked by a group of white supremacists, whose violent activities are ignored by the police.
In Kyrgyzstan shot by writer-director Maria Brendle “Alu Kachuu – Take and Run,” Talented newcomer Alina Turdumamatova plays an independent-minded young woman named Sezim, who is kidnapped by three strange men and forced to marry one of them with the help of her relatives, a crime still practiced in Kyrgyzstan . When his parents, who resented his sense of independence, accept the marriage, Sezim loses all hope of escaping. But she continues to fight. The film is another disturbing cautionary tale for these times.
If the desperate and horrifying stories in this Oscar category are any indication, Academy voters are very worried about our collective future.
(“Academy-Nominated Shorts: Live Action” contains sexual violence, cruelty, gun violence and profanity.)