While fantasy and imagination inspire many stories, when it comes to the Coming-of-Age genre it’s often real life events that result in the most poignant films. It is not rare that the viewer senses the personal connection and importance of the characters and happenings to the filmmakers and, when the storytelling is good, those characters and happenings achieve similar feelings in those to whom the story is being told.
That’s probably why Eduard Zholnin‘s 2005 short film Trusha, about a childhood friend of the author (Eduard Zholnin wrote and directed the film), feels so authentic. It’s a moving portrayal of the fight for dignity of ten-year-old Vanya Trukhina (Daniel Schifrin), growing up in a Russian orphanage. Reflecting on past events, the filmmaker opted to choose a child narrator, which further boosts the story’s impact on the viewer.
“Everyone called him Trushin – the loony, the thief, the freak …but for me he was just Trusha”
The identity of the narrator doesn’t become clear until the final scenes when he becomes known to the viewer. Some of the issues that the story focuses on besides a fight for dignity and friendship are loneliness and helplessness, which serve as a reminder that real-life stories do not always end up with a “happily ever after”. Despite that approach, the filmmakers made sure not to completely leave magic out of the narrative. Beautiful camerawork, editing and a great musical score gives an almost poetic feel to many of the film’s scenes — creating a magical realism out of everyday situations and subjects – such as an apple tree or falling rain.
Only the ending could possibly disappoint some viewers, especially those looking for an added layer of a more dramatic finale (myself among them). But all-in-all Trusha is a wonderful short film well deserving of being discovered and appreciated.