Oscar-nominated live-action shorts: Raju | Bleader

Oscar-nominated live-action shorts: Raju

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All this week I've been reviewing the Oscar nominees for best live-action short, which open Friday at Landmark's Century Centre. Check out the Bleader for previous installments.

From Germany, Max Zähle's Raju is a nicely calibrated thriller that takes an unexpected left turn into moral conundrum. A handsome, blond young couple (Julia Richter and Wotan Wilke Möhring, both excellent) arrive in Kolkata, India, to adopt a child; as their cab pulls them into town, long pans from the back window reveal squalid neighborhoods and piles of garbage. The boy, Raju, turns out to be lovely and sweet, and the couple are still consumed by the glow of new parenthood when the husband, having taken him into the market, gazes up at some kites in the sky and looks downward against to discover the boy has vanished. There's a hint of Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) in the husband's dogged hunt for Raju, though eventually he discovers they've been seriously misled about the boy's past. A trailer follows the jump.

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