Five 2021 Academy Award Nominated Short Films (LIVE ACTION)
“Feeling Through”: A broke teen looks for shelter on a cold night. His random encounter with a middle-aged, deaf-blind man changes his course, possibly in more ways than one. Writer-director Doug Roland gets strong work from both performers: Robert Tarango actually is deaf and blind; Steven Prescod is convincing as a desperate kid who turns out to be a genuinely good person.
“The Letter Room”: Oscar Isaac plays a corrections officer who takes over the job of scanning prisoner mail and gets involved in the lives revealed therein. It’s a well-acted, low-key drama that could be ready for expansion.
“The Present”: A goodhearted Palestinian man takes his young daughter to pick up a gift for his wife; to do so, they must pass through an Israeli checkpoint. The stresses and humiliations complicating what should be a simple errand pile up, pushing him toward a potentially tragic outcome.
“Two Distant Strangers”: Takes a familiar fantasy trope and applies it to a deadly serious subject: police mistreatment of Black Americans. To its credit, its denouement makes that gamble pay off. It evolves into something thoughtful, eventually becoming a startlingly dark commentary.
“White Eye”: An examination of unintended consequences in modern-day Tel Aviv. When a young man seems to have solved the mystery of his stolen bicycle, his single-minded quest to reclaim it takes a turn that forces him to see with greater perspective. Shot in one continuous take, Tomer Shushan’s film puts its audience in a tense situation with steely focus until its deeper meaning becomes clear.