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Directed by  Matthieu Vinel / Reviewed by Monali Majhi

A man is known by the company he keeps. Or sometimes by the car he owns. Matthieu Vinel’s The Transaction has three central characters – a young man, a young woman and a classic car. The movie opens with a handsome man behind a steering of a gorgeous 1965 Triumph TR4. He drives like a prince charming on his way to his castle to rescue his princess from captivity.

The beast like car helps to keep our hopes high. The red vehicle drives through us the beautiful landscape of Ardeche Mountains and somehow enhances the beauty of it. We wait breathlessly for something to happen. At that point, the probabilities are too many. Vinel does a good job with the pace of the film. The aerial cinematography is wonderfully done. Our wait soon becomes over when a hitchhiker waits on the street for a lift and is met by none other than our guy in red Triumph TR4.

He gallantly helps her to move her things into the car. They start their journey together. We don’t get to hear their conversation with all the music going on.  But they seem to have clicked together. They laugh and enjoy each other’s company when her destination arrives. She leaves. The camera stays on his face for a moment. Do we see despair in his eyes? But considering the fancy car, he must be getting experiences like this pretty often. Does not he? Or does he?

What is interesting in Vinel’s work is that within this short time, he gives us a beginning, middle and an end to his film. And it is dramatic. The climactic point of the movie is when he drives into the castle and we realize that the car is not his! He is merely delivering it to the owner of the car, and probably of the castle as well. The owner appreciates the beauty of it and sends the guy away with a measly tip. Jean Morel’s eyes know magic. When he looks at the car for the last time, we see his eyes flash the yearning for everything that the car symbolically stands for – glory, fame, money, respect.

And then, a series of questions come to our mind. The most important one is, does the girl know? Did he tell her that it’s not his car? What did they talk about? Do they meet again? We see him walk down the road silently and wait. He left his vehicle behind. He is the one who needs a ride now.  We wait with him. Soon, the wait is over. A Museum bus comes to his aid and he gets into it. The journey from a glorious Triumph TR4 to a public bus has not been as smooth as it seems to be. Is it a solitary journey that lies ahead of him? Or will he be showered by the company of a fellow traveler of life?

The Transaction one of the best short films I have ever seen. It has all the elements that make a film worth watching. Vinel does a great job as a director-cinematographer. The writing of Anna Morel is very thoughtful. I cannot stop praising Matthieu Vinel because of the tight editing he did in this movie. There is not a single shot that seems extra here. In a word, The Transaction is brilliant.


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