Traces (2009)

Traces (2009)

Traces (2009)“Can you make me stay a child forever?”

It is time for another short film review and I have chosen a magical one. In Traces,  a young narrator invites us to hear a story – a story about a boy named Timothy and his encounter with a witch. The eleven-year-old Timothy lives in a countryside hut with his mother. They are poor, but manage to make a living working on the farm. One day, as he roams the nearby woods, Timothy hears a woman’s whisper – yet there is no one to be seen. Scared – he runs away. The same evening his mother tells him the story of a witch, a witch that used to live in the region. It’s a story that her parents had told her when she was young to keep her away from the woods …

The next day, the boy and his mother are visited by an old man who claims that Timothy’s father is indebted to him.  And, since the father had passed away, his family has to meet his obligation to repay what is due. As nothing of a value is to be found in the hut, the man demands to take the boy as a worker in his mines. After an argument with the mother, he reluctantly agrees to wait until the boy grows up. The family is desperate, but Timothy is not ready to give in.  He reasons that if he does not grow up, he won’t be taken away, so he heads to the woods decided to find the witch and ask her to help him stay a child forever…

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Jack Davies as Timothy in Traces (2009)

Jack Davies as Timothy in Traces 

Traces was directed by Remy Schepers at the time when he was attending the Audiovisual Media program at the Utrecht School of the Arts Academy. A fantasy fairy tale, the story of the film will feel familiar to many, reminiscent of the fairy tales we heard as youngsters. Yet Remy Schepers (who wrote the story, in addition to directing the film)  manages to surprise us with a skillfully crafted ending. That approach is frequently used in the short form of cinema.  Since filmmakers in that genre have a limited time to tell the story, once the audience is engaged, a well crafted and meaningful ending enhances the whole impact of the story. And here is where the good direction shows – a good director knows the audience as well as his characters and a great story twist caps the rest of the story off and reveals it for what it really is.

The cinematography of the film is excellent.  Karlijn Milder, who worked on the photography of the film, has created a magical atmosphere – paying attention to the smallest details. The young Jack Davies does well as Timothy, yet the performances of the rest of the cast are not as convincing. The dialogue also feels a bit artificial at times.  But because of the skillful directing and the great visuals, seeing the short film Traces is a pleasant experience and I don’t hesitate to recommend it.

You can watch the film below.  Please don’t hesitate to share your opinion on it in the comments section.


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