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Agent Electron: Short Film Review


Directed By: #PrashastSingh

Starring: #PrashastSingh

Short Film Review by Huw Buckley


Lev Kulushov’s theory of montage, developed during the 1910s and 1920s, explored the relationship between different images and how the sequence in which they are presented can be crucial to our interpretation of what we are seeing. Prashast Singh’s Agent Electron, a potentially Avant Garde take on the superhero genre, reminded me of this as I tried to piece together the short film’s story and decode the themes the filmmaker wished to convey. The piece itself is presented in reverse-chronological order, which lends itself to this kind of discussion, as the audience’s interpretation of what is happening is completely warped.

This is a short silent film - clocking in at just under 3 minutes - which comprises of a collection of captioned still images, with a shaking effect added to the images in post-production. This, coupled with a grating industrial soundtrack, results in an uncomfortable viewing experience, short as it may be. The film’s length, or lack thereof, coupled with the lack of dialogue or even some kind of indication of the only character’s emotional state within the captions, leaves the film feeling rather like an experiment in montage, with the visuals mostly holding the key to audience interpretation. Unfortunately, the central performance, also given by Prashat Singh, in my opinion lacks the clarity or quality to adequately convey such depth, which will likely leave the audience feeling somewhat bewildered as a result.

This isn’t necessarily a criticism. The film is completely original and unique in its approach to the medium, and it is certainly a brave effort. Intentionally or not, the film feels somewhat sinister, with its offkey tone and nihilistic subject matter, playing rather like a Robert Eggers horror film, as opposed to a superhero movie, as billed. It may well leave you feeling somewhat cold, gripped by nihilism (I certainly felt this way). If the measure of good art is its ability to elicit a reaction, then the Singh’s short film certainly succeeds, though it’s difficult to say whether this was the kind of reaction the filmmaker was searching for. For the sheer experience alone, I would recommend giving Agent Electron a go. It may be that you are able to take more from the film than I, and the subjectivity of the cinematic experience is arguably what keeps filmmaking, and its subsequent viewership, fresh and ever engaging. It could simply be that, on this occasion, this piece of art was beyond my intellectual grasp.



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