Award show season is in full swing, folks. The Oscars air Sunday, Feb. 9. Until Feb. 13, Ragtag Cinema will show the 2020 Oscar-nominated short films, both animated and live-action, to help MU students and Columbia citizens prepare for Sunday and continue to enjoy them after.
For some reason, the first word that comes to mind when I think of short films is melancholy. You can blame Pixar for that with their beautifully crafted but tear-jerking short films. And this is no different for the Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short Film. These films will make you ponder with their deep meanings and themes that will definitely get those tears falling.
Speaking of Pixar, “Kitbull” is one of the amazing short films nominated for an Oscar. It follows the story of a stray cat who wanders into a backyard where a mistreated pit bull lives. The two get off to a rocky start but they end up creating a beautiful bond that saves the pit bull from his abusive owner. Overall, this was a beautiful and touching story that is a wonderful social commentary on the mistreatment of animals.
“Hair Love” is truly a crowd-pleasing film. Bright colors. Cute little jokes sprinkled throughout. A touching storyline. What more could you ask for? This film is about a young African American girl trying to do her hair for a special occasion with the help of an online video tutorial. She has no luck so she asks her father to help because her mother seems to be nowhere in the picture. Although this story had sorrowful undertones, it was obvious the goal of the film was to keep things lighthearted. Comparing it to my original outlook on short films, this one surprised me. It had a different approach to reaching the deeper meaning of the story which helped it to be a very well-rounded film. “Hair Love” is a beautiful story that is able to touch the hearts of audiences of all ages and help people love who they are no matter what type of hair they have or how they look.
“Dcera,” which means daughter in Czech, was the short film that made me think the most. This short tells the story of an interesting father-daughter relationship. We see the father dying in a hospital room while the daughter is reflecting on childhood memories of her and her father. I would have to say the animation style is what stood out to me the most. It was a different style compared to the other animated shorts. This film is full of emotion and depth even though it is kind of hard to follow. You have to work a little bit to piece it all together because of all of the hidden meanings throughout the film. Overall, this film was an emotional piece that will make you think with its amazing animation and concealed symbols throughout.
“Mémorable” is the heartbreaking story of an aging painter who has dementia. Everything around him slowly disappears into paint splatters. The animation beautifully depicted the perspective of this man and added so much depth to this film. My favorite aspect of the film was how they connected the way his mind was declining to painting. It was an interesting way to build character development. Even though it is so sad, this film really did a great job of painting this picture and helping us understand what the main character is really going through.
“Sister” was by far my favorite out of all of the short films. The structure and the buildup of this story along with the small details added throughout were executed perfectly. This film is about a boy’s relationship with his sister throughout his life. He describes her personality and how she affected his daily life. It is comical along with a shocking surprise at the end that definitely will work up the waterworks.
Even though “Sister” was my favorite, my prediction is that “Hair Love” will win the category for Best Animated Short Film. It is a well-rounded film that appeals to everyone with its lovable characters and touching storyline. Each of these films are definitely worth the watch though. All of them will make you ponder hard on their deeper meanings and maybe even cause you to shed a tear.