Updated: Oct 14, 2018
★★★★ Directed by: Jacopo Manzari Written by: Jacopo Manzari Starring: Paolo Graziosi, Ahmed Hafiene, Jacopo Manzari Little Wing Film Festival Review by: Chris Olson
With a brilliantly sculpted central character, Jacopo Manzari’s short film Shalim Goodbye is full of incredible nuances and character development. The lead performer, Paolo Graziosi, delivers an eccentric and hilarious portrayal of an older gentleman who decides to become a paternal figure to his hired helper (Ahmed Hafiene) as a way of showing his feeling of betrayal at the hands of his surfboard salesman son (Manzari).
Littered with fabulous set pieces and a curmudgeonly spirit, Shalim Goodbye blends a lovely sense of comedy, drama, and intrigue into its story that is as entertaining as it is compelling. Whilst audiences are chortling at Graziosi’s portrayal of his character’s urination routines, they will be met shortly after with a heartfelt narrative of Hafiene’s character’s troubled backstory. This is done smoothly, without jolting the viewer out of the atmosphere, and has a remarkably lasting effect. It was a shame that the plot unravelled slightly in the final third, with a few plot points which seemed to skip too fast. The investment in the characters had been built so well that the ending felt slightly underwhelming.
The script is intelligently written, giving the film a sharper edge than most of the genre, and this is then pounded on by Graziosi, who goes to town with his performance. From mispronouncing Shalim’s name to confronting diners who seem abhorred by his public urination, his turn should be celebrated, under the clever direction of Manzari. Hafiene is brilliant as the humble worker who wants to support his family and not offend his employer in equal measure. Some of the short film’s best moments involve this character being tempted by different vices and his reaction to these was believable and gracefully performed. Manzari as the black sheep is well rendered, completing the dynamic of the ensemble.
Had more attention been given to the ending, this could have been one of the best shorts of the years. The dialogue is wonderful, the performances are excellent and the themes of loneliness, regret, and love are beautifully sculpted without being overly preachy. As it is, Shalim Goodbye is a compelling if chaotic watch that is still definitely worth your time! Even if it does make you need to pee a bit.