The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

The Lady and The Reaper is an acclaimed animated short film by the Spanish director Javier Recio Gracia, which was just named a 2010 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Short Film.  The film tells the tale of a sweet old widow who is living alone on her farm, waiting for the arrival of death so she can be with her beloved husband once again.  One night, while asleep, the lady’s life fades out and she’s invited by the grim reaper to cross death’s door.  But just when she is about to do so, the old lady wakes up inside a hospital ward and discovers that, unfortunately, she’s been saved from death’s door by an arrogant doctor. The doctor then wages what he thinks is a heroic battle against the grim reaper, attempting to recover the old lady’s life at any cost.

The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

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Madame Tutli-Putli: A Lonely, Terrifying Journey With Ghosts of The Past

Madame Tutli-Putli: A Lonely, Terrifying Journey With Ghosts of The Past

Madame Tutli-Putli is a 2007 Academy Award nominated, stop-motion animated short film by Montreal filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski.  The film takes viewers on a breath-taking journey into the world of Madame Tutli-Putli.  Her journey proves to be a difficult, terrifying one: a combination of Hitchcock for the unexplained dangers and Alien for the other-worldly interruptions that go well beyond just about anything one has previously experienced in a puppet, stop-frame movie.

As she travels alone on the night train, weighed down with her all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past, she faces both the kindness and menace of strangers.  Finding herself caught up in a desperate adventure, adrift between real and imagined worlds, she is forced to confront her demons.

Madame Tutli-Putli: A Lonely, Terrifying Journey With Ghosts of The Past

Slide Show: Madame Tutli-Putli’s Lonely, Terrifying Journey With Ghosts of The Past

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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The New Boy: One Day When I Was Lost

The New Boy: One Day When I Was Lost

New Boy has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Live Action Short Film category. The film has already won numerous awards, including Best Irish Short at the Foyle Film Festival 2007, Best Short Film at the prestigious Irish Film and Television Academy Awards 2008, Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival 2008 (USA), Best Short Film at the 2008 Rhode Island Film Festival (USA), the Melbourne International Film Festival 2008 (Outstanding Short Film Promoting Human Values) and a Special Mention at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival.

New Boy takes us inside the mind of a young boy named Joseph during his first day in a new classroom. But Joseph’s not just any new boy, he’s an immigrant African child in an Irish classroom, seated right in front of the local bully. He’s also a boy who recently had lost his father (who was also his teacher) to war. Joseph witnessed first-hand the brutality of soldiers against his father in Africa, saw his father’s crumpled body and learned something about dealing with a potential enemy.

Joseph has to negotiate between a violent past and a future that looks as though it’s headed the same way. Straddling two worlds, the new boy must struggle to fit in without giving in. And living with the ever-present memory of his father, Joseph must find a way to stand up for himself while acting responsibly, just as his father would have wanted. The day that Joseph initially felt he was lost eventually came to be a day that he ultimately found a renewed sense of self, as well as the fulfillment of deep yearnings for reconciliation with his lost father.

While this deeply touching short film illuminates the more particular feelings of being the “new kid” at school, it also stands as a broader metaphor for our struggles with feelings of being an outsider in more general settings (at work, in a group, in a different city or country), as well as for the painful feelings of alienation suffered by persons and groups experiencing rejection by society. The film is an excursion into complicated contemporary multicultural realities. However, rather than attempting to teach or preach about simplistic lessons in social tolerance, New Boy shows how very tricky such lessons can be, either to teach or to learn.

New Boy: One Day When I Was Lost

A wonderful slideshow of images from the ten contending Academy Award short films can be viewed here.

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A Lavatory Love Story: The Loneliness of a Public Toilet Attendant

A Lavatory Love Story: The Loneliness of a Public Toilet Attendant

Lavatory Love is a 2009 Academy Awards nominee for Best Animated Short Film. The film is a minimalist animated short about a lonely middle-aged public toilet attendant who sits in her little booth day after day, collecting coins from the lavatory users while she reads the newspaper and fantasizes about the romantic lives that other people enjoy.

Secretly, she yearns for a man in her own life, someone who would love and comfort her. Unexpectedly, one day a small bouquet of flowers mysteriously appears in her money-jar. She suspects that her dreams about intimacy actually might come true after all, especially when more flowers continue to appear in the little glass jar. As the film follows the woman’s attempts to discover the identity of her secret admirer, it reveals the angst and sadness of a very lonely woman, as well as her transformation into a happy and joyful human being.

Lavatory Love: The Loneliness of a a Public Toilet Attendant

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