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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'THE TERRORIST - WEB SERIES HOLLYWOOD, EPISODE 1'
- Directed by Clemy Clarke -

Part of a web series about actors trying to succeed in Hollywood, this short story shines a light on typecasting.

The film opens with a young man enacting a violent role in front of a mirror; later on, we find out he is auditioning for a terrorist part.

The casting scene is masterfully directed, starting with what seems to be a part of an action flick. The tense dialogue is suddenly stopped by the director’s cut. It seems that the hero has done a good job as the board acts a little scared.  He enthusiastically asks if he will be given the role, but is denied the answer by a lady visibly affected by what she had seen. From the unique moment of total attention during the casting call, the actor returns to oblivion, stepping out in the hallway where others had crowded to rehearse the same lines he just delivered.

This is a simple and witty narrative which candidly ridicules Hollywoods‘ movie scene by humorously drawing attention to some of its major flaws, like stereotyping non-white actors and choosing violent storylines just for the sake of shock. On the other hand, it shows the difficulties of an actor auditioning for a negative part, who has to convince himself in front of the mirror of his own fearlessness. Even after the casting, he remains trapped in the fiction and continues to rehearse the role at home.

Salim El Arja gives a great complex performance playing both the role of the actor who prepares for a casting and the role of the terrorist during the casting. We also remarked an enterprising director, that, despite her short experience, manages to deal with a challenging structure, showing she learned the ropes of filmmaking. We appreciate the capacity to tell a good story using limited production resources and also the venturesome shooting script.

As the rest of the web series, this particular episode mixes two styles. One is the Hollywood convention with appropriate editing and sound techniques. The other is a more sterile structure used to convey the real life of the actor, when the shots get longer, there is no music and overall, there is less make-believe. This alternation of the two plans builds some good plot twists and keeps the viewer engaged to the end of the film.