• One of the redeemers in Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill’s short documentary

All this month we’ll be reviewing the Oscar nominees for the best animated, live-action, and documentary short films, alternating daily between categories. Check back tomorrow for the next installment.

Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill’s Redemption closes with a shot of a poor woman dragging her shopping cart, freighted with bulging plastic bags of cans and bottles, down Wall Street. It’s not exactly subtle, though I’m hard-pressed to imagine another ending for a documentary whose very subject is the grinding endlessness of poverty. Alpert and O’Neill trail various canners, New Yorkers who collect cans and bottles and redeem them at grocery stores or recycling centers for five cents apiece, and the portraits they collect show how tough life can be when you have to dig every nickel out of a Dumpster.