Monday, November 07, 2022

Oscar-Qualified: Ivalu

The expression "as the crow flies” has a lot more practical meaning in Greenland. In this case, it is a raven, probably a more apt black bird, given its ominous associations. A young girl hopes the mysterious raven will lead her to the truth in Anders Walter’s Oscar-qualified short film, Ivalu, which is campaigning for the Academy’s short-list.

is a good example of the sort of interesting films based on comics and graphic novels, you can find outside the Marvel-DC duo-oligarchy. In this case, the visuals of Mortin Durr’s like-titled graphic novel, illustrated by Lars Horneman, capitalize on Greenland’s stunning natural vistas, as does Rasmus Heise’s striking cinematography.

The story itself is a sort of death-of-innocence spiritual journey that feels like it was quite faithfully condensed down to sixteen minutes. When young Pipaluk wakes to find her older sister Ivalu is missing, we can easily guess the circumstances of her fate. Frankly, she probably knows too, deep down, but she needs the Raven’s help to recognize and accept the truth.

Mila Heilmann Kreutzmann and Nivi Larsen are both excellent portraying Pipaluk and Ivalu (seen in flashbacks). These are impressively sensitive and restrained performances. However, there is little subtlety in the ways the other few characters around them are depicted. As a result,
Ivalu holds few surprises, but Walter expects us to jump ahead of Piupaluk—and tries to build the tragic tone accordingly.

Regardless, it is easy to see how the story would appeal to Walter, given the way his feature,
I Kill Giants, and his Oscar-nominated short Helium used mildly fantastical devices to address childhood trauma and woe. It is a nice film and it is Walter’s best-looking work, by far. Worth watching just to get a different perspective on “comic book” films, Ivalu is fully Oscar-qualified.