Short docs are often considered the poor relations but here are four very different and good short docs, including one from the Stanley Kubrick.

Day of the Fight

Day Of The Fight by Stanley Kubrick (1951) (US) (12m)

Kubrick is of course best known for his fiction feature films, such as The Shining, but he started out with two short documentary films, including Day Of The Fight. Day Of The Fight displays much of the mastery Kubrick would use during his later career and is perhaps most reminiscent of his hard-boiled, 1956 feature film, The Killing, which would in turn help mould directors such as Quentin Tarantino.

Photograph of Jesus

Photograph of Jesus by Laurie Hill (2008) (UK) (7m)

Photograph Of Jesus is a hard film to categorise, which is perhaps why I like it so much. It is a funny, interesting, stop-motion, animation documentary about some of the weirder and more asinine requests for photographs at Getty Images (including the request for a photograph of Jesus). It is narrated by an archivist Matthew Butson and is the second short film by London-based animator Laurie HIll. It is one of my all time favourites from the UK.

Two Hands: Leon Fleisher by Nathaniel Kahn ('07) (USA) (17m)

Nominated for an Oscar, Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story gives us an insight into the life of an American piano prodigy and conductor, who started playing at the age of four but whose life disintegrated after a hand injury. Khan had in fact already been nominated for an Oscar for his feature length 2003 documentary, My Architect, which sought to understand the life of his father. Both Oscar nominations were shared with producer Susan Rose Behr.

Two Hands: Leon Fleisher

I Want To Be A Pilot by Diego Quemada-Diez (06) (Ken) (10m)

A successful documentary short from Spanish filmmaker, Diego Quemada-Diez, I Want To Be A Pilot tells the touching story of Omondi, who lives in Kibera, the biggest slum in Kenya. In the form of a poem, written by the director, Omondi tells us how he dreams of flying away on one of the planes he sees in the skies above his township. It is perhaps not the most subtle documentary but it is effective, and the story ends with some unsettling truths.

I Want to be a Pilot

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