This week’s repertory film: The 2012 Oscar-nominated shorts

Shots from a few of the Oscar nominated shorts.

The 2012 Oscar Nominated Animated, Live Action, and Documentary Short Films are currently playing at the IFC Center.

This year’s Oscar nominees in the Animated Short Films category are illuminated by their desolate settings and underlying sense of melancholy. Depicting relationships between lonely, isolated characters and their epic landscapes, they capture men, boys, mutants, and chickens struggling to find meaning in their limited time upon the vast empty spaces of the silver screen and a fading planet. Amid expansive vistas of western prairies, English gardens, desert plains, urban wastelands, boundless oceans, and moons saturated with starlight, unlikely heroes animated in conspicuously disparate styles grapple with solitude, loneliness, and despair, their own and the world’s.

Alternately whimsical and sinister, the five nominated films veer between moments of heartache and fancy, gentle humor and emotional devastation. The best of the group by a wide margin is “Wild Life,” a Canadian film that explores the hopes and disappointments of youth with depth and understatement. Set in 1909, this accomplished piece of animated literature follows a young Englishman seeking thrills and adventure on the Canadian frontier, comparing the creation and erosion of his dreams to the “eccentric” trajectory of a comet. Reminiscent of revisionist westerns like John Williams’ “Butcher’s Crossing” and Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man,” it has an intelligence and sense of purpose distinctly lacking in mainstream American animation.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” a silent work with shades of Buster Keaton that plays like an American response to the recent Jacques Tati-inspired “L’Illusionniste,” tells the story of an avid reader who rediscovers happiness when he finds a library of magical books after a tornado destroys his former world. Along with “La Luna,” it features the kind of work that Pixar and Dreamworks should strive for on a more consistent basis in their feature films. Playing alongside the nominated films are four ecologically-themed “Highly Commended” titles, the most entertaining of which is “Skylight,” a public service announcement about the dangers of global warming that features a variety of exploding aviary and terrestrial lifeforms, especially demented penguins. It’s like an animated propaganda film directed by Werner Herzog.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Accused Boston bomber’s sister faces judge over bomb…

The sister of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber faced a judge in New York Tuesday on charges that she told her husband's ex-girlfriend she could "put a bomb where you…

National

Actor Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in June…

By Jonathan Stempel(Reuters) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others in his limousine were not wearing seat belts when their vehicle was struck by…

National

Connected cars: Is AT&T leaving Verizon in its…

By Marina Lopes and Bernie WoodallWASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - Verizon Communications, the No.1 U.S. wireless carrier known for its widespread coverage, is falling behind its biggest…

Local

Grand jury begins hearing evidence in Eric Garner…

A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday relating to the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in July. Garner, 43, of Staten Island,…

Arts

Artist Laurent La Gamba uses cars to create…

An artist managed to make his friends and family ‘disappear’ – by blending them in with their surroundings using paint.

The Word

The Word: Amanda Bynes returns to form

You know who we haven't heard from in a while? Amanda Bynes. Well, that dry spell is over because Bynes is back! Her parents' conservatorship…

Going Out

Taste what Lower Manhattan is cooking at today's…

The Lower Manhattan food scene has changed a lot in three years, which you can taste first hand when the neighborhood's food festival returns. On…

Television

Review: 'Selfie' tries to coast on the charm…

"Selfie" offers cute leads and some good jokes, but focuses too much on a vague distaste for social media.

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony preaches patience with new coach, offense

While star forward Carmelo Anthony said he’s “enthusiastic” and “optimistic” for the upcoming season, he still wants everyone — from within the locker room and…

Travel

Top celebrity wedding spots from Cheapflights.com

Cheapflights.com picks the best places around the world to tie the knot like George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. As George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wed…

Education

How to ace your private school interview

Getting ready for a private school interview can be daunting for many, most of whom might never have been in an interview situation before. We’ve…

Education

5 questions parents should ask while visiting private…

It can be hard to know what to look for when searching for a new school for your child. Parents considering several different schools can…

Education

3 ways to save money on college application…

With the average high school student applying to 5 or 6 schools, hefty application and test score fees can add up quickly. We’ve compiled some…