Directed by: Tim Huebschle
Written by: Tim Huebschle
Starring: Paulus Johannes
The sun, a bright and burning star at the center of the Solar System, is considered to be the most important source of energy for life on Earth. This flaming sphere is responsible for lighting up our surroundings. Besides its many benefits, a health-related website reports that exposure to sunlight increases the release of a hormone known as serotonin, which is responsible for boosting mood and keeping us calm and focused. It sure tempts you to get out and seize every ray from it. It’s also not a big deal to walk under the fiery rays. In fact, people on the beach take their top off to indulge in sunbathing - not a big deal for the normal eyes. Having said that, there are some people for whom the sun is closer to a bane. For them, it does not meet the criteria of a fun supplement that enhances the joys of spending time at a beach. Such humans can really burn their skin when exposed to the rays.
Writer-Director Tim Huebschle’s four-minute documentary titled Another Sunny Day tells the story of one such individual. He is Paulus Johannes, who lives in Namibia, a country in Southern Africa where “four of five days are sunny.” Famous for its sunshine, a place like Namibia is no more than hell for Johannes. He suffers from a rare condition called Albinism, in which your skin becomes sensitive to the sunlight. The sun is Johannes' enemy. A narrative like this could have easily turned into a four-minute lesson on the disease and the daily struggles of Paulus Johannes. Surprisingly, Another Sunny Day starts off as a love letter to the scorching sphere from none other than Johannes himself.
Mask the premise, and you won’t get the gist of this film until the end of it. Innocuous dialogues such as, “I like mornings. That’s when I spend time outside,” and “but when the sun sets, it’s beautiful” give an impression of watching a person who is describing his love for the sun or his daily routine. Even when he says lines like, “The time the sun is overhead I rather stay inside,” does not arouse any suspicion. I mean, no one enjoys walking around in the heat. Without synopsis, you can’t figure out that Another Sunny Day is about Albinism (until you reach the last scene). This distinguishes Huebschle’s short from most documentaries who solely rely on the subject of the narrative in the most straightforward, conventional way possible (a person sitting and narrating the story).
Another Sunny Day refrains from revealing the face of Johannes till the last scene. It also shifts to a god-eye view when Johannes walks on the streets. Why? This choice visually conveys that he is not the only person in Namibia suffering from this disease. The god-eye view makes him just another person in the field living with Albinism. Another Sunny Day is quite refreshing and unusual for a documentary. One can say that it’s more than “Another Documentary.”