Favorite
We’re terribly lucky to have the Loft Cinema, which each year shows the full slate of Academy Award-nominated shorts. This year’s live-action program features a few real gems, as well as some entertaining, if not terribly original, shorts. Perhaps the best is Miracle Fish, a mysterious and ultimately horrifying story about a young boy who falls asleep at school, only to awaken to an empty building. Is the problem UFO abductions, or something more sinister? Nearly as good is The New Tenants, with appearances by Vincent D’Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan. It’s a clever twist on a noir tale: Two men move into a new apartment and watch as the plot of the last tenant’s life is played out in drugs, sex and violence in their living room. Kavi and The Door are attempts to explore real-life tragedies through dramatic enactments. Kavi is about a young boy whose family is kept in debt slavery in modern-day India. The acting of Sagar Salunke in the title role is mind-blowing. If there was an award for Most Natural and Affecting in a Short Film, they should not only give it to him; they should name it after him. The Door is beautifully shot and deeply sad, relating a semi-true story about fleeing from the Chernobyl disaster. Still, both of these films wind up sacrificing a bit of art for some didacticism. Finally, Instead of Abracadabra is an extended joke, but it’s a funny one: A grown man lives in his parents’ house and dreams of becoming a famous magician. Magicians are easy targets, and most of the jokes play on the obvious loser nature of the profession, but it’s fast-paced and funnier than most comedies. On the whole, this is an excellent slate, and a very decent way to find out what’s happening in the broad world of non-feature-length filmmaking.

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