Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (2013)
86th Academy Awards 2014
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Best Live Action Short Film (Esteban Crespo).
Watched July 30, 2014.
Aquel No Era Yo is hard to watch from start to finish. While its execution and possible story can come off as slightly melodramatic, it turned out to be pretty powerful for me personally.
Two doctors are visiting Africa (we aren’t sure where) and find themselves at a barricade manned by child soldiers with automatic weapons. Paula (Alejandra Lorente) and Juanjo (Gustavo Salmerón), clearly a little naive and very optimistic, almost make it through until an adult with ulterior motives shows up and decides to teach the boys a lesson. The General (Babau Cham) is less than gracious and watches as his man teaches young boys what to do with outsiders who “kidnap kids.”
There is one negative that I found in the film, and that is its use of non-linear story telling. It gives something huge away, which takes away from the suspense and therefore the power of the story telling. Occasionally throughout the short we see a glimpse into the future, into a classroom where first world students are learning about child soldiers and the war culture in this particular African country. Immediately we know that people survive, and that impacts the plot in a very negative way.
Despite this, the rest of the filming is very well done, from cinematography to acting, color grading to sound and the development of character, Aquel No Era Yo was definitely a force to be reckoned with at these Oscars. Despite their loss, the film was very deserving of its nomination.
If you can find the time to see the powerful and well made film, I would recommend it! Just be aware that it is very intense and doesn’t pull any punches.