Of the five live-action shorts nominated this year, three focus on personal fulfillment. Juanjo Giménez Peña’s Spanish short Timecode (15 min.), which won the Palme d’Or for short film at the 2016 Cannes film festival, centers on two security guards, Luna and Diego, who work the day shift and night shift, respectively, at a parking lot in Madrid. Luna, asked by her boss to check a time code on one of the security cameras, catches Diego, on his shift, dancing through the lot with abandon, which inspires her to join him. In Aske Bang’s Danish short Silent Nights (30 min.), a woman struggles to care for her senile, racist mother even as she volunteers at a homeless shelter in Copenhagen; there she serves and eventually falls in love with an immigrant from Ghana, though unbeknownst to her he has a wife and three children waiting for him back home. And Timo von Gunten’s resplendent Swiss short La Femme et la TGV (30 min.) takes place in a storybook village where a lonely septuagenarian (Jane Birkin) waves at the TGV train each morning as it rushes by her window. One day the conductor tosses a letter into her garden, and they begin a passionate correspondence. Recurring pops of robin’s-egg blue—in her bicycle, her scarf, and the shutters of her cottage—suggest an internal wellspring of romance and vitality that she poignantly uncaps. Continue reading >>