Directed by: Joshua Pikovsky, Jordan Tetewsky
Written by: Joshua Pikovsky, Jordan Tetewsky
Starring: Hunter Zimny, Betsey Brown, Paul Kandarian
As someone who deplores social gatherings (unless it involves friends), I identified with Joseph (Hunter Zimny) in Bergmensch. Don’t you hate it when you are forced to participate in a gathering where you don’t know anyone and would not talk to them after leaving the get-together? One of the worst memories of my childhood has my parents forcing me to attend parties hosted by their friends. All alone, I would stand in a corner or roam aimlessly around the room looking for someone to talk to. Needless to say, I didn’t fit in. There used to be hardly anyone present of my age. Today, I am not impelled to attend such parties. However, occasionally I am required to show up to a religious gathering, which I despise with the same intensity.
It’s clear from Joseph’s expression that he is not having a good time at the sabbath dinner with his family. The dreariness from his face makes its way to the overly-lit candle lighting. Everything looks excessively bright and dreadfully dull. The image resembles hell, which is what Joseph considers this assembly to be. An ineffective attempt is made to get him talking by telling him to start a cousin’s club. This suggestion, though, is less inclusive and more a comment on his silence. It’s the kind of piffle someone tosses at you when they fall short of words or try to bring attention to your quietness at a chatty meeting.
Joseph is not alone with his sombre sentiment. There is an old man who sits silently, very eager to detach himself from the noise. He takes off his hearing aid to save himself from the loud blather echoing in the room. Joseph, too, wants to get away from this setting, and so he escapes into the nearby woods. It’s here he encounters some series of scenes that may or may not have a deeper meaning embedded in them. From my limited understanding, I saw these scenes as a juxtaposition of the event happening inside the house. The people Joseph finds outside are close to one another, and not just physically. Two men - one holding the hand of another who has a lamp - walk past him as if they are guiding each other on the way. A man puts his shirt on another person to provide comfort from the cold atmosphere. Then there is a group that shares the same energy and walks in the same direction - it’s like everybody is mentally connected.
Joseph, after returning to the house, finds no such attachment. He remains a stranger in front of his family members. The pleasant confines, for him, exist as a desolated prison. Bergmensch is like a nightmare that I don’t want to live in my real life.