Recommendation: 3 Stars, Stream
For the first time ever, I was able to see the 5 Oscar-nominated documentary shorts; one of the many benefits of living in a film-obsessed town like Los Angeles. With these films, I finally feel like my Oscar ballot is complete! More than that, I left the theatre impressed with these five filmmakers and their ability to search for truth in such a compact and focused way.
The first film was “Traffic Stop.” In many ways, this film felt incomplete. With that said, it still does a tremendous job of focusing on a young woman who is the victim of police brutality in Houston, TX.
The second film was “Edith + Eddie.” This film also felt incomplete but did a spectacular job of showing us the lives of an elderly interracial couple who found love in their old age. As the credits rolled, all I could think of was the film, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I won’t give anything away but once you see this film I am sure you’ll understand.
The third film of the bunch, “Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” was my favorite of all the nominees. It focused on Mindy Alper, a Los Angeles based artist known for her brilliant work. Without a doubt, she is a special kind of artist and brave in every facet of her life. Her work reveals trauma, depression, and mental disorder in a tangible form for those of us who have never dealt with anything of the sort.
The fourth film was “Heroin(e).” It turned its attention toward the exploding opioid epidemic in West Virginia. Specifically, it focused on three women courageously leading the fight to take back their communities. For the first time, I got a real sense of the problem and its crushing impact.
The final film was “Knife Skills.” This short introduced French cooking to Cleveland, OH. The twist here is those preparing the food, serving, pouring drinks, and hosting. They are all ex-convicts on a track to right the ship. This film brilliantly displays the power of second chances and the feeling of pride that can only be found in doing meaningful work.
Be good to each other,
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