I'm always on the lookout for good short films - because they are short, and because they are good. Which means most short films - and virtually ALL Malaysian short films, not least because so many of them try so hard to be abstract - fail, and fail spectacularly. And when I do come across a good one, I remember them, and I want people to see them.
This short, I really think, will be a major contender for the Best Live Action Short Oscar - but only if the fact that it played out over the Internet didn't ruin its chances. Many nominees and most winners of this category tend to be comedies, and they are also very much simple stories, often with a major punchline at the end. Another consistent criteria is that the shorts should be shot on film.
Signs is wonderful because it is short; because the two leads are perfectly casted (face-wise); because the way it uses non-dialogue is totally functional to the story; because the pacing is virtually perfect*; because it doesn't stick the camera to one spot, but knows to use slow zoom-ins and multiple camera angles when needed; because its twists and turns are constantly surprising; because despite its one-note concept it still manages to magnetise audience attention; because it is so focused on delivering a good story to the audience. By not trying to put some artsy, stylistic directing style in it, the director's brilliance becomes that much more apparent.
The irony is: this is an Australian short.
* A few people earlier questioned my statement that Malaysian films should have faster pacing (because Malaysian films tend to be too slow). The example of this short is what I mean by great pacing - not too fast, not too slow, but giving information to the audience at the right time and moving along before they have a chance to get bored.