The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Live Action | Chicago Reader

The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Live Action

In the terrifying French drama Just Before Losing Everything, a middle-class wife and mother races to tie up loose ends at work before her abusive husband realizes she's fleeing town. Writer-director Xavier Legrand takes his cues from the Romanian New Wave, working in mobile long takes and claustrophobic interiors, yet this never feels derivative; the settings and behaviors are realized so intricately that the film seems to have grown out of them. It more than makes up for the two clunkers in the program: Anders Walter's Helium, a supremely mawkish Danish drama about a terminally ill little boy, and Esteban Crespo's That Wasn't Me, a manipulative, unedifying Spanish production about child soldiers in Africa. Rounding out the set are two pleasing comedies, each about 10 minutes long: a British fantasy by Mark Gill called The Voorman Problem, and Selma Vilhunen's Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?, about an accident-prone Finnish family rushing to get to a wedding on time.

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