In a short film, you have to get to the point pretty quickly–something that Oskar (Edvard Hægstad) and his doctor (Terje Ranes) seem to understand. Oskar has precisely six days to live. “Would you like to die at the hospital or at home?” the doctor asks. Being a stubborn old man stuck in his Norwegian old ways, he refuses all help and returns home where he counts out his last days on the calendar.
The next morning, his appointed “death angel” shows up–a young girl who is trying to earn her wings by helping the dying cope with their untimely demise. Oskar, however, is not someone she had bargained for. He seamlessly processes through her stages of dying–denial and anger being the first two–but what she didn’t expect was his extracurricular activities.
He is waging a war against the seagulls. Yes, seagulls. With machine guns, explosives, and even his own two feet. Although his promise of death has not dulled his hate for the birds, it has softened his heart toward his brother, to whom he hasn’t spoken in a good thirty years.
If you aren’t a fan of short films, you will be a fan of this one. If you are a fan of short films, you will be a fan of this one. It is perfection, although once I tell you that it features a giant electric tuba built to reach all the way across the Atlantic you might not trust my judgment any more. The acting is spot on, the timing of the humor is perfect, and despite the possibility of animal activists being incredibly put off by Oskar’s pastime hobbies, I hope that they can see the humor in the completely absurd old man.
The ending has just enough cheese with the continued pattern of perfect timing that the 25-minute short is rounded out nicely, with all loose ends tied and fewer seagulls soaring the skies. If you have never listened to any of my suggestions before, you should definitely start now by watching Tuba Atlantic.