J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, May 31, 2013

BFF: A Better World (short)

Think of this as what happens after the famous 1984 Apple commercial.  Big Brother has fallen.  Unfortunately, Henry Dremmel is no Winston Smith.  Adjusting to a post-dystopian world will be difficult for him in Sacha Feiner’s short film A Better World (trailer here), which screens during the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.

Dremmel the tool, works for the Domestic Denunciation Program.  All days he monitors security cameras, reporting even the slightest deviations from the norm.  One fateful night, Dremmel wakes to the sound of fireworks.  The regime has fallen.  Freedom has broken out, but the Denunciator cannot handle it.  He prefers the structure of his drab, harshly regimented former existence.

Audiences are unlikely to see a film more explicitly associating the compulsive need for security with oppressive statism in a month of Sundays.  What’s even more mind-blowing is that it hails from Belgium, the EU’s happy host nation.  Regardless, writer-director Feiner really cuts to the heart of the matter.  Dremmel is not an odious villain.  A pathetic figure, he is the final victim of a de-humanizing collectivist system.

Better World is also quite an impressive looking production.  Olan Bowland’s bleak, washed-out cinematography and Julia Irribaria’s imposing sets create a perfectly Orwellian environment.  Almost a prop himself, Vincent Kohler is appropriately cringey and clammy as Dremmel.

Despite its twenty-four minute running time, A Better World has more to say than most features.  A genuinely challenging work (especially for Williamsburg hipsters), it is one of the best dystopian films of any length to hit the festival circuit.  Very highly recommended, it screens this coming Monday (6/3) and Wednesday (6/5) as part of the 2013 Magnetic edition of the Brooklyn Film Festival.

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