Charged with repressed tension and emotions, the 2017 short film Janek/Bastard features a powerful narrative that stays in the viewers’ minds long after the final credits have rolled.
The story, told in a flashback by the main protagonist recalling his childhood days in 1942 Poland, provides a poignant window into the harrowing experiences of children living in a time of extreme turmoil and oppression.
A sense of tension gradually builds throughout the film as viewers observe the uneasiness that surrounds the daily life of the family, which has accepted a shy, introverted boy as an extra member. His presence awakens the jealousy of the lead character Krzysztof (portrayed by Jesse Willhite). Close-up shots of his face allow us to understand his emotions and serve as an effective plot device to highlight the story’s intensity.
Poignantly and in an original manner, the film’s director, Muriel Naim, captures the innocence and vulnerability of children in a way that won’t leave anyone indifferent. The aesthetics of the picture bring beauty and naturalistic realism to the story. That is a result of a well-told and well-shot short – as the film is characterized by first-class cinematography, evident from the scenes’ exceptionally well done and very competent lighting.
According to Muriel Naim, her film: “questions the human morals and one’s fear and explores the darkest corners of a boy’s soul.” (1)
Other similarly themed short films are Jochen Alexander Freydank‘s Toyland and Keegan Wilcox‘s Porcelain Unicorn.
- Official site of Janek/Bastard (2017)