Nefta Football Club Live Action Short Review: A Light Film with a Heavy Moral

Written by Ram Venkat Srikar

Nefta Football Club is a great case study to convey a message through the film instead of jostling it on the face. Rajinikanth, an Indian movie star with a legacy as famous as Chuck Norris, is known for mouthing dialogues about life and success. One such dialogue is “You can’t achieve success without hard work, and the success that comes your way without hard work won’t stay long.” This quote sums up the moral of the 18-minute Nefta Football Club. Filmmaker Yves Piat treats a thin thread with the utmost respect and gives a piece of cinema that has profound depth and is equally fun.

The subject by itself has ‘crazy’ written on it, and infusing social commentary into a silly concept is brave. Picture the opening scene: two drug dealers have lost their medium of drug smuggling, a donkey, which listens to music on headphones, red ones, to be specific. While verbally troubleshooting, they find the root cause is that one of them mistakenly changed the music which the donkey is trained to listen while smuggling drugs. There you go! What happens when two naive brothers find the donkey, the narrative only becomes more funny and exciting. Just the notion of a donkey instigating a plot by functioning as the catalyst to the narrative is a joke. When did an animal’s actions drastically affect the plot and alter the characters’ motivations? If you don’t consider the mouse from Avengers: Endgame, there are very few legitimate answers, I feel.

And the concept of the film is quite ideal for short form, and I admire the fact that they chose to stick to the short form even though the subject has scope to be a feature. Perhaps it would have lost its essence in a feature form, but in its current form, it’s quite concentrated with no adulteration. We have seen a comedy of errors, where a specific physical object shifts from hand to hand, leading to confusion and plot linking, this could have been something strikingly similar. But Yves Piat circumscribes the story to just four characters, and three primary environments, that’s all the story needs, plus this isn’t a film riding on atmosphere; it’s the character decisions and the consequences, that are of higher significance. Even though the importance of the physical setting stands pretty high, the narrative never overuses it.

You may challenge the silliness of the plot and character choices, but that’s what distinguishes it from other comedies. All of its fine cinematic craft apart, Nefta Football Club is a sweet tale of ignorance where the wisdom lies beneath the silliness.

On January 29, ShortsTV will debut THE 2020 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS at the IFC Center in New York City and in select markets, and then roll out across the US and Europe on January 31. This marks the 15th consecutive year of the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical experience. It is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday February 9, 2020. They will also made available via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialise their movies. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation, or Documentary. .

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