I’ll be going through and leaving my thoughts on each of these, though I’d like to say that it is really a shame that “The Neighbors’ Window” won. It was truly the least important and most cliché short of all five. That said, seeing these shorts in a theater setting was really unique and enjoyable and way more immersive than I think possible at home when you’re dealing with short film.
“The Neighbors’ Window”
As previously stated, this short was definitely the weakest of the bunch. It had this whiny quality throughout, that specific privileged metropolitan 40-year-old why-did-I-have-kids whining that I am sick of trying to identify with. Of course, the point at the end is for these whiny people to realize how lucky they really are but overall I just felt like the point is no one can be happy. The whole cancer element as a way of introducing hardship into the 20-something couple’s life made me roll my eyes. The visuals of shaving one’s head and getting a hospice bed are just so on the nose I had to wonder if this was a satire.
“Nefta Football Club”
Yves Piat, Damien Megherbi
This is the short that I assumed would win. It was clever, well-paced, and actually made my theater laugh out loud. In contrast to the heavier themes in this category, this short felt like a lighter way to go about serious issues. I highly recommend seeing this one, as it is thoroughly enjoyable both on its surface and in terms of technical cinematography and performance.
Bryan Buckley, Matt Lefebvre
This short was definitely hard to watch. I appreciated this story being told, and the way the camera travels throughout the story was impressive at times. I do feel like there was something missing from this, though. Maybe it was because the setting was something I’ve never seen before or because the ending felt like such a binary evil (though it was, but it verged on cartoonish I might say?), but I felt myself hoping for more contextualization I suppose. It is an important piece of film to see though, especially for US audiences.
Meryam Joobeur, Maria Gracia Turgeon
This short was the most intriguing to me of all of them. Centering on a family whose oldest son is returning from joining ISIS, this short was gritty and touching and made me feel like I was offered a window into a world far away from my own. I highly recommend it.
Finally, this piece was a really strong contender for me as well. It was a study of suspense and solidarity, and was probably the most engrossing of all the shorts. The lighting choices and dialogue specifically made this short a memorable and altogether artistic experience. As a woman works with a emergency line operator, one feels both impending doom and an unrelenting hope at the same time, which makes for a stressful but thought-provoking experience.