Combustible Celluloid
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With: Julie Ølgaard, Laura Christensen, Neel Rønholt, Matteo Razzouki-Safardi, Philippe Pollet-Villard, Richard Morgiève, Wannes Cappelle, Ineke Nijssen, Hilde Norga, Charlotte Asprey, Richard Brake, Sam Douglas, Duncan Marwick, Dan Mullane, Francesco Quinn, Lex Shrapnel
Written by: Christian E. Christiansen, Philippe Pollet-Villard, Geert Verbanck, Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski, Maciek Tomaszewski, Samuel Tourneux, Karine Binaux, Olivier Gilbert, Ivan Shmelyov, Suzie Templeton, Marianela Maldonado
Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen, Andrea Jublin, Philippe Pollet-Villard, Guy Thys, Daniel Barber, Josh Raskin, Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski, Samuel Tourneux, Aleksandr Petrov, Suzie Templeton
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: English, Danish, Italian, French, Russian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 227
Date: 03/18/2013

The 2007 Academy Award Nominated Shorts (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Short and Neat

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This year's crop of Academy Award nominated Live Action and Animated shorts might well have been called the "longs." It takes nearly 4 hours to watch all ten of them back-to-back. As a whole package, none of them gets anywhere near masterpiece status, but none are particularly awful, either. The longest one, the Danish live action film, At Night, looks to be the sure-fire winner, setting its luxurious 40 minutes in the cancer ward of a hospital between Christmas and New Year's. Three young women (Julie Ølgaard, Laura Christensen and Neel Rønholt) deal with their illnesses in various ways while agreeing to meet up together for their own private New Year's party. This one was practically made for awards. My favorite has to be the shortest, Tanghi argentini (13 minutes), a wonderful Belgian comedy about an office schlub who gets last-minute tango lessons from a co-worker for a hot internet date. The ending is a welcome doozy that I did not see coming, despite a well-placed clue.

Though I'm a big fan of hand-drawn or hand-crafted animation, my favorite of the five Animated Shorts, ironically, is the only full-fledged CGI creation. Running just 9 minutes, Même les pigeons vont au paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven) has its share of impressive technical stunts, such as moving, lurching cameras and a breathtaking sense of speed, but it's also the funniest and the most touching of the five. It owes a great deal to Pixar for its rhythm and timing, but that could be the factor that puts it over the top in the eyes of the voters.

(See my full-length review at for more details.)

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