'MAN IS CRUEL'
- Directed by Gustav Bondeson -
This highly-charged short depicts the tense moments of a young sect member that has to act upon his beliefs.
The film stands out through its visual style. A character centered-narrative, with no dialogue, this piece of work has expressionist influences: the setting portrays the internal turmoil of the main character. The shooting script follows the same idea of conveying the feelings of anxiety and fear, through the use of handheld camera. The action unfolds in the dim light of the morning and the color palette consists mostly of shades of dark blue. The sounds design helps build suspense and enhance the gloominess of the film.
However, in some moments, the director wants to make sure the viewer gets the right information and puts too much emphasis on certain details. We see many times the simple black cross sign of the sect in the first minutes and we get the same suggestion of a dystopia seconds apart in the driving sequence: the radio news about atrocities and a roadside crime. Also, the man is overacting his feelings of anguish in the first shots. This underlining of information shows the creative’s team uncertainty about the functionality of a no-dialogue story.
Otherwise, the narrative is skillfuly delivered to the audience through the means of the articulated camera movements, the wall-paced editing and the revealing soundtrack. The plot has a last- minute twist that leaves the viewer with an impression. Moreover, every shot is carrefully composed and the images make their way into the audience’s memory. We appreciate this as a great skill for a film director: being able to leave the public with meaningful images rather than with stories and ideas. Also, it is admirable that the film manages to create the atmosphere of a thriller with little production resources, just through the use of color, light, editing, camera movement and sound design.
The acting performance is suitable and balanced, the man is able to show an even state of disquiet throughout the film, using his body language to express his fear and half-heartedness when time comes to complete his actions.
This an atmospheric short is the work of a talented director that knows how to work with the audiovisual language.