Directed by Mazahir Rahim | Reviewed by Swastika Ghosh
“The young can see beauty so easily! Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka, the legendary author of several award-winning books such as The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Judgement, and many others has touched millions of lives through his art of writing. The primary themes that are explored by him in his books are depression, dilemma, disability, absurdity, and so on. However, in the book titled Kafka and The Doll authored by Larissa Theule, the bright and beautiful side of Franz Kafka has been revealed in detail. This book revolves around Kafka’s encounter with a distraught little girl in a park. The girl had lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll was not lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures. Eventually, he starts writing letters in the name of the doll, Betsy, to the little girl, Tina. Tina keeps going back to the man for the letters that make her so happy. The letters speak about Betsy’s grand adventures and liberating stories.
The film The Doll’s Postman is the film adaptation of this book. The prolific director, Mazahir Rahim, has captured the nuances of the two primary characters in the film quite minutely. This film primarily encompasses the coming-of-age genre that the audience will realize at the end of the film. The title of the film ‘The Doll’s Postman’ is simple and self-explanatory. In the opening scene of the film, we find Tina, a little girl sitting on a dry rock bed surrounded by green fields. The scene is quite significant as it shows the girl’s distraught situation amidst nature’s beauty. It can be treated as the forebode to the successive events of the film.
Tina and Franz Kafka, the protagonist who calls himself the doll’s postman meet at a park. The moment Kafka appears on-screen, we find a sepia tone cast on screen and the sepia color tone appears every time we see Kafka on screen. The sepia color filter is used with the intent of giving an antique style to the film. It also indicates that Kafka is a figure from the past and not a dweller of the present. Apart from that, the director has played with colors throughout the film quite well. Seeing the little girl cry, Kafka reaches out to her. They start looking for the doll but end up finding nothing. The sequence ends with Tina jumping through a circular structure, giving out the idea that Kafka hand-held her to a new journey.
In the next two weeks, Kafka wrote one letter to Tina each day in the name of Tina’s doll Betsy. He read out the letters to Tina and she listened to them with love and longing in her eyes. Each letter taught Tina several important lessons like how to cope with loss, how to exercise freedom, why liberty is important, and spirituality. Over the years, learning those lessons Tina has grown up to be a lady of character and a strong personality. She does not care much about materialistic pleasures but has learned to believe in the importance of life’s simplicities. We also see that Kafka and the little girl always meet amidst nature which is indicative of the fact that their bond is as pure and beautiful as nature itself.
However, in the last scene, we find that after Tina and her mother bid goodbye to Kafka, he vanishes in thin air. This scene leaves the audience hovering over Kafka’s existence in the present. The orchestral back score has brought out the different moods in the film quite brilliantly.
All in all, the film will surely bring back cherished memories of childhood and make you nostalgic. If you miss those fun-filled days and crave your presence back in there, this would be the perfect watch for you.
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Swastika Ghosh was born in Kolkata and lives with her parents and her beloved dog, Fuss. She studied Linguistics at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and holds immense love and passion for languages and literature. She spends much of her time indulging in contemporary and classic films from all across the globe.