Directed by Abrar Athar
Starring Masum Bashar, Ferdousi Ahmed, Aanon H Siddique, Mohammad Hridoy Hossain
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
A depiction of family life, filmmaker Abrar Athar's short film, Life in Other Words, is a mischievously enjoyable piece that makes use of charm and comedy, whilst telling multiple narratives in a light hearted manner.
A son failing school, a daughter hitting the glass ceiling at work, a husband with a penchant for temper tantrums at the cricket score, this could all be enough to topple some mothers but not the one in this story. Even at the end of the month where funds are tight, she still maintains her cool by rustling up a nutritious, if unglamorous dinner for her quirky family. What transpires over their together time is everything you need to know about the important things in life.
Light on conflict and tension, audiences may find a lack of things to chew on if they go into Life in Other Words expecting something with threat or intrigue. The plot is simple, the tone is fluffy, and even the moments where the father is raging at his son are still somehow cheeky rather than chastening. This is in part a criticism, as viewers could have been given more depth to the family drama, but it is also a complement, as Athar feels confident to deliver a basic story about the fundamentals of family life without the need for conventional, audience-pleasing, cinematic devices. Not that we should feel short-changed though. Instead, he gives us an exceptional aesthetic experience.
There are some breathtaking sequences during Life in Other Words that transcend the usual standard of short filmmaking. Several jump to mind but the most laugh out loud enjoyable was a series of family photographs whereby a younger version of the father is relentlessly pushed out of view by his siblings. This had a Wes Anderson quality to it and will really make viewers smile. Another involved the watching of a cricket game and some slow motion on the euphoria it can cause, which was wonderfully entertaining to watch. The colours are vivid and the music is spunky, everything about the short has been tailored to create a vibrant tapestry of life. The only gripe would be the English voiced narration, which felt jarring against the Bangladesh setting.
Great comedy filmmakers are hard to come by and Athar will certainly be one to watch. His timing is excellent, as is his mise en scène, and the variety of filmmaking devices he shows he can utilise well is impressive. What I am trying to say, I guess, is that this is Great in Other Words.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for short film Life in Other Words below...