Produced and Directed by Ranjani Prasad
Starring Jessica Anders, Shae Bourne, Abby Hunter, Kennedy Knopf, Nicholas Masse, Ritesh Matlani, Payton Moldenhauer, Jhomar Suyom
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
There have been some performers that have really stuck in the memories of film fans over recent decades for their sheer physicality. The mark of a great performer is one who can embody the actual presence of a character as well as deliver the lines they may speak. Such examples include terrific actors like Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, and Daniel Day Lewis. However, when it comes to the physicality of ensemble casts, many forget to call it such and label it choreography. In short film Krupa, from filmmaker Ranjavi Prasad, there is indeed a significant amount of planned routine about the performances which is utterly breathtaking, but to ignore the emotional depth and impact that each individual performer brings to the screen would be a crying shame.
An abstract movement piece, Krupa translates as "Mercy" and is something of a tapestry when it comes to thematic threads. Elements of violence and sex can definitely be located, as can intimations of love and desire. The swarm of squirming, writhing bodies to the pounding beat provokes feelings of a beautifully uncomfortable mix of isolation and anxiety.
Prasad introduces colour into the piece in a very striking and specific way. Splashes of red can be seen at numerous points during Krupa, at one point a performer has her entire face splattered with some kind of crimson dust. As with any artistic endeavour, audiences will be able to emerge from a viewing with a myriad of interpretations, but it is undeniable that the short film packs a huge amount of compelling ideas into a tiny running time. Krupa is the kind of film you want to submerge yourself into for days just to explore as many aspects of it as you can.
I mentioned earlier the idea of performers bringing physicality to a character, and the impressive array of these we get in Prasad's movie have a stark vitality to them as well as an underlying sense of turmoil or threat, that one cannot help but submit to their presence. This combined with the hypnotic fluidity of their movement made this a transfixing cinematic experience.
There are some really clever moments in terms of editing and aesthetics, the short utilises a smorgasbord of tactics like mirroring, blurring, slow motion and the like to introduce and maintain a surreal yet compelling atmosphere. As the intensity of the narrative grows as does the pacing into something quite formidable. The balletic prowess of the talent behind and in front of the screen culminating in a thoroughly enjoyable climax.