Directed by: Joseph Seuferling Written by: Joseph Seuferling, Nima Forghani Screenplay by: Byron C. Miller Starring: Tiffany Astrid, Douglas Mckenney, Nima Forghani Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Dramatic short film (In Here) I Am God takes a classical film structure approach to tell its story which is rooted in archaic, yet regrettably relevant, themes of patriarchy and male-dominated oppression. The result is a chaotic and transfixing piece of cinema that fuels up with shocking visuals but never gets the motor fully running with the narrative or characters.
Set in a bunker where a megalomaniacal general (Nima Forghani) dictates a number of harsh orders to his dedicated staff, know as The Woman (Tiffany Astrid) and The Soldier (Douglas Mckenney), we see a series of disturbing sequences and images which coalesce into a depiction of male-led aggression and tyranny.
Symbolism is everywhere in (In Here) I Am God and rightfully so. The filmmakers choose to utilise a silent film approach, using title cards for the minimal dialogue, which is an automatically telling device. By opting for a foundation level cinematic structure, the short film makes a poignant and tragic connection between this outdated format and the ridiculously outdated notions of male superiority. Further this with systematic sexual references, such as a burka or topless shots of Astrid, and a sombre picture starts to form for the audience that lets them know this is more than a piece of abstract or thoughtless filmmaking. Upon further reading, the background of Forghani renders the film particularly interesting, coming from a traumatic childhood in Iran where the establishment divided society and kept its people in a nightmarish environment, something which Forghani wished to recreate in the film.
Director and co-writer Joseph Seuferling does an admirable job of keeping the performances from reaching melodramatic heights, which would have undermined the heavy themes, and the frenetic editing from Byron C. Miller does well to contribute to the confusing atmosphere, a state in which the audience is placed in order to find some semblance of association with the experience of the storytellers.
Often the why of a film is lost unless the viewer takes it upon themselves to go the extra mile and find out more about the story, the filmmakers, and the cultural context behind everything. This is most definitely a fear for anyone approaching (In Here) I Am God without any prior knowledge. The shocking visuals and monster-like central villain (who looks a little bit like a cross between Lord Voldemort and the baddies from I Am Number Four) could feel slightly silly if you are not equipped to understand the heritage. On the other hand, though, this is a short film that uses cinematic language to tell its tragic tale in a way that is memorable and harrowing.
Watch the official movie trailer below...