Who needs a mid-winter, fight-the-blahs treat? We all do. Let me suggest a few hours at the Tivoli in Westport, watching the short films nominated for the Oscars.
Several of them are delightful, and I would have a hard time choosing among the five nominees for best live-action short. “Raju,” a German/Indian movie with subtitles, might be the favorite because of its serious and dark theme – a German couple travels to India to adopt a boy, but things get morally complicated – but I found that the story in “The Shore” stuck with me longer. It’s an Irish movie about friendship, homecoming, lost love, what might have been and what turned out to be. Great cast. I have a special weakness for screwball comedies, so “Pentecost” (Ireland) and “Tuba Atlantic” (Norway) were just lots of fun. “Time Freak” (U.S.) is basically one long gag, well done and funny. Not a sour note among these five.
The five nominees for best animated short are not as strong, but a friend and I agreed that “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” was easily the best of the group. The rest have their moments. Animated shorts tend to be really short, so the organizers of these showing usually throw in a few extras. “Skylight” and “Nullabor” are both pretty good.
So here’s the deal: The live-action movies are at 4:45 p.m. each day through Feb. 23. Total running time is one hour, 50 minutes. The animated movies are at 7 p.m. Thursday, then 2:30 and 7:15 this Friday through next Wednesday, then 2:30 on Feb. 23. Running time is an hour and 20 minutes. You can vote for your favorites and the ones you think will actually win; there’s a contest. Have fun.
There’s one more category – short documentaries – but the Tivoli isn’t making it all that easy to see them. They are shown only at 11:45 a.m. this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then 7:30 p.m. on Thursday of next week, Feb. 23. Running time is 2:10. Haven’t seen them. Wish I could. Won’t be able to with this schedule.