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The Oscar Gem on the "Fish Tank" DVD

by Caryn James
February 22, 2011 1:59 AM
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Andrea Arnold’s Oscar-winning short, Wasp, is every bit as accomplished and harrowing as her amazing feature, Fish Tank, and takes the same gritty, realistic approach to its working-class characters.

In the 2003 short, a very young single mother of four leaves them in a parking lot while she has a date in the pub with a long-lost boyfriend. Arnold makes you hold your breath wondering whether a wasp flying near the baby’s mouth is the worst that will happen to these kids.

Wasp, (photo above) which won the Oscar for best live action short, is the strongest feature on the new Criterion DVD of Fish Tank. It’s easy to see Fish Tank's heroine (Katie Jarvis) as a girl trying not to become the woman in Wasp, even as she falls for her mother’s too-attentive boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).

Although the DVD includes two earlier shorts, it's too bad there's no commentary from Arnold. But maybe Wasp is enhancement enough.

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