Tonight I saw all five of the nominated films in the Live Action Short category. I'll present my reviews in the order they were shown:
THE CONFESSION (United Kingdom)
What begins as a coming-of-age comedy based on two young boys discovering what it means to be Catholic rapidly turns into a dark, hopeless exploration of bad things happening to good people. Though the ending does provide closure, it's far from satisfying.
WISH 143 United Kingdom
A light look at what decisions we make when faced with our own mortality, this story centers on a 15-year-old boy who asks a charitable organization for one final wish: to have sex with a woman. Soon his virginity becomes the talk of the town and measures are taken to ensure his dream is fulfilled. Very cute, if you can suspend the disbelief long enough to enjoy it.
NA WEWE (Belgium)
The year is 1994. Rwanda is enduring a horrific civil war. When a van full of citizens is stopped by group of armed men, they each have to prove their nationality to stay alive. The tension is unimaginable, as we don't know who is telling the truth or who is lying. Thankfully, a U2 song interrupts the chaos for a moment of peace.
THE CRUSH (Ireland)
The strongest of the five nominees, this delightful short is short and sweet. A young boy falls in love with his second-grade teacher and challenges her fiancé to a duel for her hand in marriage. It's funny, sad, scary and completely charming.
GOD OF LOVE
A man is smitten with the drummer in his band, but unfortunately she's hot for his best friend (who is also in the band). He prays for her to return his affections, and as an answer to that prayer, receives in the mail a box of cupid-like arrows that possess supernatural powers. As he goes about casting love spells, he learns a bit more about relationships. It's a clever idea, but the execution was almost too wink-ridden to truly appreciate.