The Lady and The Reaper - Oscar Animated Shorts 2010 #5

Country: Spain
Director: Javier Recio Gracia
Writer: Javier Recio Gracia

An old lady waits to greet her inevitable fate and rejoin her husband on a cold windy night somewhere anonymous. As Death approaches, a 'heroic' doctor steps in to save the day.

The Lady and The Reaper reminded me a lot of last years short film, This Way Up (which regular readers will have grown tired of me talking about by now) in its blackly comic, slightly sideways look at death and what it can bring. Moving between day-glo fantasy and stark realism, director and writer Javier Recio Gracia creates several believable worlds where we can simultaneously find enjoyment, shock and rollicking laughter.

The key here is the characters. Gracia personifies Death in the way many have before him (notably Terry Pratchett) and plays on the fact that he could act, feel and live like a real person for the laughs that are readily available. Similarly, and with echoes of fellow nominee Granny O'Grimm, he's not afraid to view the elderly as people rather than a massed group of anonymous, shuffling, nobodies.

The narrative has real weight behind it and the little ticks of the individuals contained within help drive it forwards. However, just like TWU, the director isn't afraid to let his story go off on its own, creating visual delights for the viewer that are surprising given the rather somber early moments. Entertaining, well-rounded and perfectly structured, this is an exemplary short film and a worthy nomination.

It's got a nomination so it's as much in with a shout as the rest of the final five. All of them will have to beat the Wallace and Gromit behemoth to stand a chance but there's no reason why The Lady and The Reaper can't be that one.

The Lady and The Reaper has literally just become available on the official website which is linked to above.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting that you reviewed a short. Thank you for broadening my horizons a bit. I personally root against Wallace&Grommit, so I'm for it!

    AND--You have an award on today's award post at my blog! Also, I listed some personal movie preferences today in your honor. :)