|Revolting Rhymes: Girl vs Wolf|
A few years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got the bright idea to start packaging each year's Oscar-nominated short films in two programs to play in movie theaters — one featuring all five nominated live-action shorts, and a second featuring all five animated nominees (plus a few extras, to bump it up to feature-length).
The 2018 editions of the Oscar Nominated Shorts are in theaters now. If I was forced to pick a favorite, I'd go with the Animated Shorts —far more stylistically diverse, in a format that encourages creative imagination.
The Live-Action nominees represent a broader range of racially and culturally diverse experience, evoking some powerful responses.
|Who knows what you'll find in the Lost Property Office|
Among my animated favorites is Revolting Rhymes, from Jakob Schuch and Jan Lachauer (UK). Adapted from a collection of fairy tale-inspired poems by Roald Dahl, it's a sly, subversive mash-up of classic tales conveyed in Dahl's waspishly elegant verse.
A dapper wolf (voice by Dominic West) spins a tale for a sweet little old lady in a tea shop in which strands of Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs are woven into a fiendishly clever narrative where little girls are not as helpless as they seem, and "goodness" does not always prevail.
|The Silent Child: Maisie Sly|
The most moving of the Live-Action films is The Silent Child by Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton (UK), in which a compassionate young audiologist bonds with a 6-year-old deaf girl whose well-meaning family is too busy to engage with her.
Kevin Wilson Jr.'s My Nephew Emmett (USA), set in Mississippi in 1955, is a dark elegy exploring events leading to one of our nation's most notorious racial crimes, the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, told with stark, potent grace.
The film was completed by director Benrath as her graduation project at the end of her studies at the Hamburg Media School.
(Right: Adelyne Wairimu in Watu Wote/All of Us)