The LAMB Devours The Oscars 2017: Best Live Action Short

by Jay Cluitt · February 13, 2017 · Featured, LAMB Devours the Oscars · 1 Comment

Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:

Today, Aaron Neuwirth from The Code Is Zeek is here to look at the nominees for Best Live Action Short.

Given the creativity and ambition of various filmmakers who are working outside of the world of feature films, it’s great to be able to catch up on the Oscar-nominated short films. In addition to the many feature-length movies that are up for big awards, these smaller films are a sampling of the many great short films that arrive every year.So here they are, presented in alphabetical order.

Ennemis Intérieurs (Enemies Within)

Between The Battle of Algiers and today’s political climate, Enemies Within is a sadly timeless short film. As the story unfolds, we see an interview go in various tense directions, while keeping in mind the irony of the characters who are essentially facing off against each other. The dialogue has a good sense of rhythm to allow the two men to bounce their questions and answers off of each other quite effectively. The film also concludes in a manner that really seals how effective this (admittedly Oscar bait-y) short is.

Director: Sélim Azzazi
Synopsis: In the 1990s, as the Algerian civil war rages and terrorists infiltrate France, a French police officer of Algerian descent conducts a rancorous interview with a French-born Algerian man seeking naturalization.
Country of Origin: France
Language: French

La Femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady)

Here’s a very sweet film designed to bring a smile to anyone’s face. At first you wonder where this story is going, as a random woman waves a train. You soon learn how neat this narrative is, as a romantic plot seems to be unfolding in a unique manner. Mixing that with Elise’s current state as a bakery owner out of touch with modern technology and there’s a fine short film here that builds to a proper (and fairly exciting) finale.

Directors: Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
Synopsis: Elise has been waving at the express train as it passes by her home every day for three decades. A letter from the train’s conductor begins a correspondence between the two, and when the train is detoured to another route, Elise goes in search of her man.
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Language: French

Silent Nights

This short feels like a well-made drama that has been condensed down into an over-dramatic series of events. Silent Nights is well-acted and filmed with plenty of sincerity, but it continually stacks the deck with more developments when things could have been simpler. Of course, all of this also means the film will probably win the Oscar. An element I did like was seeing the city of Copenhagen and getting an idea of what it’s like for immigrants, even if there are some elements that feel a bit reductive.

Directors: Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
Synopsis: Young Danish woman Inger volunteers at a homeless shelter in Copenhagen, where she meets and falls in love with Kwame, an undocumented immigrant from Ghana. The couple builds a life together, but a devastating secret from Kwame’s past may undermine their happiness.
Country of Origin: Denmark
Language: Danish | Akan | English


Here’s a short that also has its share of drama, but builds to a strong climax. Working as a coming-of-age story, it is easy to root for the main characters, as they deal with a cruel teacher. The addition of seeing a friendship form helps round out this short story. As it goes on, one assumes some kind of payoff will make the journey laced with cruelness worth it. Sure enough, it is, as we get the aforementioned climax. Once again, seeing the location of Hungary in this sort of way helped to provide additional interest.

Directors: Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy
Synopsis: Young Zsofi is having a hard time fitting in at her new school, and her distress grows when the choir director treats her cruelly despite her love of singing. Along with her friend Liza, Zsofi investigates the revered teacher in an attempt to reveal her true nature.
Country of Origin: Hungary
Language: Hungarian


My favorite live-action nominee of the bunch happens to also be the most pleasant. A short build-up to a discovery allows this short film to be a neat little romance sparked by dance. Shot in a compelling manner that utilizes security camera footage, I was very happy to see the variety of angles help to tell this story. Timecode even manages to have a great joke to cap it all off. The slightest (but quite good) short won the Oscar last year (good for you Stutterer), perhaps Timecode could pull off the same feat.

Director: Juanjo Giménez
Synopsis: Parking lot security guard Luna is bored with her uneventful daily routine but a call about a customer complaint leads her to discover how the night guard, Diego, alleviates his boredom. Soon the pair develops a relationship by communicating through the garage’s CCTV footage.
Country of Origin: Spain
Language: Spanish

What do you think of this year’s nominated shorts?