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Movie Review: Oscar Nominated Short Documentaries


Now that the holidays are past, it’s time for the folks at Cincinnati World Cinema to get back to work doing what they do best: presenting interesting film programs unlike those seen in the commercial venues. In the next several days, they have two different programs, which should be of interest to film buffs of every stripe.

The first is the annual program of The 2013 Oscar Nominated Short Documentaries. CWC does these every year, and will also be showing the Animated Shorts and Live Action Shorts later in March. And bear in mind that the term “documentary shorts” is relative. Yes, they are shorter than a feature film, but three of the titles are 40 minutes each, and the other two are a little over a half-hour each, making for a three hour program.

Inocente, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix, is both a timeless story about the transformative power of art and a timely snapshot of the new face of homelessness in America — children.

Sari Gilman’s Kings Point tells the stories of five seniors living in a typical American retirement resort in Florida.

Mondays at Racine by Cynthia Wade is about two Long Island sisters who open up their hair salon, called Racine, and offer free beauty services for women undergoing chemotherapy. It’s a bit reminiscent of one of the films in the last LunaFest program, but more in-depth and personal.

Keif Davidson’s Open Heart follows eight Rwandan children leaving their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan.

And finally comes Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill’s Redemption about a growing army of New Yorkers whose treasures are in the trash. They are poor but proud New Yorkers whose hands rake through the discards of our lives – building their lives one nickel at a time.

All are good films, but I noticed that all five nominees are from the US; not a single entry from a foreign country. And I’m still trying to decide which film I might pick to honor with the little gold statue. Hopefully, I can resolve that dilemma by Sunday, February 24, when I reveal my Oscar picks on this program.

The 2013 Oscar Nominated Short Documentaries are showing Saturday and Sunday, February 9 and 10, at 4 pm each day, in the theatre at Covington’s Carnegie Arts Center.

For their next February presentation, CWC brings back a jewel from the eighties that has not been seen in quite a while. It’s Italian director Francesco Rosi’s film version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, as conducted by Lorin Maazel. The title role is performed with fire and energy, and made a star of Julia Migenes-Johnson. Don Jose is the wonderful Placido Domingo at his finest. And, this is also the first film version of the opera to use spoken dialogue between the musical numbers, as Bizet had originally intended. Carmen will be presented on Thursday and Friday, February 14 and 15, at 7 pm each night, also in the Carnegie Arts Center.