Directed by: #AdrishNath
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
“Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing all the time on a woman’s hunched back”- Marge Piercy
Indian #shortfilm Sarak from filmmakers Adrish Nath and Trina Chowdhury depicts the gravely serious and unfortunate reality that a lot of woman, especially in certain cultures, on some level often live in a constant state of fear for their own safety when alone, most typically from sexual assault.
When a young woman walking alone at dusk encounters three men walking towards her, she mistakes their genuine efforts to escort her to safety for ill intent, instantly becoming filled with dread and panic and instead choosing to flee blindly into the dark, with horrific consequences.
Extremely brief and lean, Sarak is a film that doesn’t leave much to chew on outside of its overall message, but it undoubtedly succeeds one hundred percent in saying everything it means to. It does well to weave a clear and concise narrative through the overarching themes of miscommunication, preconception and fear, really putting across the gravity of its subject matter in a truly universal fashion.
From a filmmaking perspective, everything is decent enough. The location and staging of the piece is well-chosen and works wonders for the narrative, the dusky twilight setting creating just the right kind of atmospheric tension to amplify the extremely uneasy mood the young woman and ultimately, we the viewers, find ourselves in. There are a couple of really very nice-looking shots and the rest is never unpleasant to look at either.
But it’s also a film that never really comes close to setting the world on fire. Arguably, it doesn’t need to, as mentioned, the film seemingly achieves everything it wants to in three minutes without any issue. However, although it does try to really put an exclamation point on things with some stark visuals at the end, perhaps with a bit more depth in the narrative as well as the performances, Sarak could have made potentially made even more of an impact than it does. The words said, and ultimately who said them are unlikely to stick in the memory, the dialogue and performances are ultimately present to only serve a bigger purpose, but the final message is what stays and ultimately that might be all that matters.
A bit more depth might have taken it to another level but for all its brevity and minimalism, Sarak is definitely a film that is concerned with its message above all else, which is certainly not a bad thing and should be commended for shining a light on such an important issue.