Directed by: #ArUgas
Written by: #ArUgas
Can you remember what it was like to be young? I can. Life seemed so simple then. Like we had a world of opportunity laid out before us. And in many ways, we did. But things aren’t that simple for the #youth of today, and anyone claiming that young people have never had it easier, need to think again. It’s fair to say that almost no one’s life turns out the way they had dreamed, but what if you’ve never had those dreams in the first place?
That’s the theme underpinning Ar Ugas’ #shortfilm, Kobe. Told from the point-of-view of the titular character, this tale of #youth #disillusionment sees Kobe in his final year of university, about to enter a world, he feels, doesn’t offer him anything, or even want him. Turning to drug selling/stealing to make quick money (or “smart money”, as he calls it), Kobe’s already less than ideal life is about to become much more worrisome when a “lick” throws a few surprises his way.
Kobe's character-driven narrative flourishes, and it does so because of the strength of its storytelling and the performances of its cast. The film prides itself on its realistic grounding, and the manner in which it handles its characters is no different. And, while there are moments in the character development where this realism is pushed aside in favour of making an out-of-character social statement, generally speaking, character arcs are handled really well.
The film's naturalistic rooting is maintained by its superbly stripped-down #soundtrack and understated #cinematography, both of which work in tandem to create the film's tone. And while nothing really stands out on its own, it's hard to deny the efficacy of all these elements coming together. Really, the only thing here that could have used a tidy up is the editing, which is a little messy in places.
Tonally, however, the film is very messy. And in places, it can kind of bring you out of the moment (this kind of plays into what I mentioned earlier about the character development). Funnily enough, though, I felt this discombobulation impacted the film far more favourably than it did negatively. There are moments here which are genuinely funny and genuinely heartbreaking, but then, in a matter of seconds, the mood can turn sour and the atmosphere becomes bleak. For me, this worked well, adding to the disconnect felt between our central characters and the rest of the world.
This is an astute, well-judged and coherent piece of cinema, and should act as an eye-opener for those who look down dismissively upon younger generations. Kobe instils sympathy in the viewer and the fact that the lead – an intelligent and educated individual – chooses to follow the path he does, makes it all the more moving.