★★★★ Directed by: Azam Awan Starring: Azam Awan Short Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
So what have we established during our time together loyal readers? Oh that’s right, I hate 80’s throwbacks in film and T.V., Stranger Things is wank... deal with it, I have a disgusting knowledge of horror cinema, and finally I love a good triple threat when it comes to filmmakers.
So which category does Azam Awan fall into...that’s right, the triple threat. What has he achieved I hear you scream... writing....done, directing....done, some acting ....done, and they are all rolled into his new short film, In a Trance, well done Azam, well done.
In a Trance is a found footage short about a young man who wakes up in a hotel room, alone and confused, with only a note to say he must record everything he does and under no circumstance leave the room....let’s hope he can survive on tiny drinks and Toblerones from the mini bar then because otherwise he is in a whole heap of trouble.
During his time he begins to receive text messages and phone calls from a girl who claims she went to a concert with him the night before. He starts to mentally retrace what he did before but struggles to remember anything, and without a hangover in sight, his lack of memory seems to not stem from being blackout drunk but something more sinister.
He relives the past events through the footage on his camera, realising that he was actually at said concert, although we don’t find out who he went to see, an Abba tribute band or Katy Perry perhaps? In which case I can understand him hiding his shame, Katy Perry is terrible, and soon we as an audience come to find out that he is not a victim of a hostage situation, but a victim of his own mental state.
This is a story of two minds living in one, we come to learn of the division created in Awan’s mind, and how he has created two versions of himself to deal with his anxieties and stress, a classic case of schizophrenia.
The manic movements of the handycam during these times of mental awakening give a sense of reality to the mania experienced by those who live with schizophrenia, as a viewer you feel thrown around, darting between what is reality and what is fiction, a struggle that must be all too real for our leading man.
This is a simple piece of film, just a man and his camera with the occasional flash back using past footage, but the story itself is compelling. From the start you are engrossed in this man’s tale, the script is punchy and direct, leaving the audience no time to get bored, a smart move where there is little visual stimulation on the screen.
The story jumps from conclusion to conclusion, yet keeps a strong narrative, we are not overwhelmed by the insanity of the storyline, but are fed little sachet packets of madness to allow us an insight into Awan’s journey into his mind, and for only 10 minutes, director, writer and leading man Awan provides us with a strong, competent and direct investigation into the human psyche.
In a Trance has a storyline which should not be overlooked and is a must for fans of psychological thrillers , so Awan I tip my imaginary hat [because I’m indoors right now and also hats don’t really suit me] to you and your triple threat skills.