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Directed by Gordon Racz

How far a man can go in life to explore his real self? Is early age trauma act as a catalyst to find truth later in life? All these questions have been answered in the film, Fantasmagorie. There is a scene in this film where the protagonist writes ‘I’m pretty’ in the mirror. However, this message leads to another part whether finding the true self is possible or an illusion. I believe the name of the film is heavily inspired by phantasm or illusion. And that illusory factor is present till the very end of the film.

This 15-minute long short is a dramatized fiction of a living man who has been abused in his childhood.  The moot point of the film is how our protagonist sees himself. Some scenes portray the psychological space of our protagonist. The film also has some disturbing elements not depicted visually but verbally. The locale of the film is a tiny room crammed with stuff that people generally put in dustbins. This creates a disturbance in the mind of the viewers at the beginning of the film.

If you like to watch a short film on childhood trauma without too much graphic violence then Fantasmagorie will be a perfect choice. The effects of childhood trauma and depression have been portrayed in the film poignantly. I’m sure that some people will argue that all childhood traumas may not lead to what showed in the film. But I think that’s where the film brings a different perspective, a different approach. Let me be clear on one thing that the film is not a documentary on childhood trauma or depression. The film takes the refuge of drama to show how people carry the scars that caused previously.

The 15:27 minutes long short is directed by Gordon Racz who is also the writer and producer of the film. The film involves only one character, Man, brilliantly played by Lex Night. I will come into the plot later but before I would like to talk about the use of the camera. The way the camera has been used is really interesting especially during the close-up shots. With close-ups, the director establishes a direct connection with the viewers. The use of GoPro Digital is invigorating. One more interesting aspect of this film is the makeup and dress. The transformation of characters is done swiftly through the makeup.

The plot of the film is simple. A disturbed young man reflects on a distressing memory of his father while getting ready for his life. The way he gets ready makes the film worth watching. His approach to fighting with past issues may raise some eyebrows but poignantly portrayed. The film has two parts- in the first part Man talks about his childhood and his relationship with his father, and in the second part, he gets ready for his life. The transformation from the first part to the second is the underlining factor of the film. A man, troubled, cramped inside a room, is looking for an answer but finally succumbs to the pressure that he has built.

As I mentioned earlier, the film is not a study on childhood trauma but a free-flowing depiction of how people carry their childhood baggage with them. The availability of contradicting factors present in Man’s character makes the film unique. He continuously wrestles with his past and what is waiting for him in the future.

The best part of this short film is that it goes under your skin without disturbing you much. This makes the film easy to watch. The end of the film is also interesting. The message is like to the viewers that you need to continue in life regardless of what may come.


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