Alright, here are three quick reviews of the two Documentary Short Subject Academy Award Nominees that were available to watch
This one is available for free if you have Amazon Prime. A mother of Nigerian descent moves her children from London to Essex after a killing of a 10 year old boy also of Nigerian descent (but unrelated to the family). The story is told from a point of view of one of the boys grown up. He talks up close to the camera and it goes from his face to a re enactment of events of what happened when they moved to Essex. You will realize why it is called BLACK SHEEP by the end of the short 26 minute run time.
Basically this man describes how racist Essex was when he moved there. He got beaten up badly by white teenagers that would call him the C and N word. After he got beaten up, he saved up his money to buy more expensive clothes, got blue fake cataracts for his eyes, and tries to bleach his skin white. The white people end up accepting him, but then still terrorizes other black teenagers and such. It’s a pretty harrowing documentary of the man describing why he did the things that he did and didn’t try to go into another direction. I’ll ruin anything else in the short run time but, basically, I definitely see why it was nominated.
END GAME is a short 40 something minute doc that is available on Netflix if you have it. Like Black Sheep, this one is hard to watch without getting a little depressed. It’s about sick people in a hospital and/or hospice where social workers and counselors work with the families of those sick to make sure that their end of life care is comfortable to the best of their abilities. It has about 5 to 6 patients that it focuses on, and goes extensively into one or two of them, specifically with an Arabic women in her 40s that is dying of cancer who will leave behind a husband and child.
*Spoiler alert* There are no happy endings in this short documentary. If you are hoping for a miracle, don’t. End Game means End Game. But the doc does show you that a place of people that deal with this can be very compassionate and helpful till the end. So combining that with these people dying of their illnesses makes sort of a bittersweet affair by the end of the documentary. I can see why this one was nominated as well, but don’t recommend it to those that get very upset easily. I’ll leave that choice up to you.
A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN
How an individual is nominated for an Oscar for the 7 minute bit (that’s available for free on YouTube, I will never understand. There is no narrator dialogue, and just ominous music, and old footage restored and edited. It’s footage of an American Nazi rally of 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden in 1939, shortly before the beginning of World War II. If 15 – 20 minutes would’ve been added on to this thing and gave us a little insight into the event or the events surrounding it, instead of just an end title card describing what was going on, they may have had something. Other than that, I really hope this doesn’t win, because there is no way it deserve an Oscar. Sure the footage is haunting, but he didn’t shoot the God damn haunting footage…
If I happen to find a place to watch the other two for free I will update this blog.