Academy Award Nominated Live Action Short Films 2007 | Chicago Reader

Academy Award Nominated Live Action Short Films 2007

Like a good short story, a good short film embraces the limitations of its form instead of struggling against them, which may explain why, of the four films I was able to preview on this program of Oscar nominees, the worst turned out to be the longest while the best was among the shortest. Running 40 minutes, Christian E. Christiansen's At Night reaches for the sustained characterization of a feature with its bleak tale of three young Danish women spending the Christmas holidays in a cancer ward, but none of the three is memorable enough to neutralize the film's rather stock Scandinavian anguish. By contrast, The Substitute, a 17-minute comedy by Andrea Jublin, is remarkably succinct and pointed: an Italian high school class is terrorized by a power-mad substitute teacher, and a clever plot twist at the end reveals the adult world to be just as rigidly controlled. Total running time is 137 minutes.

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