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The Flying Trunk Short Film Review

★★★★★ Directed by: #SiddharthChauhan Written by: #SiddharthChauhan Starring: #ArushThakur, #ZunchiDevi,#DivyaTegta Film Review by Lucy Clarke

From one of the most remote places in the world, director Siddharth Chauhan has created a masterpiece. Set in Kawar, a rural village in the Himalayas, The Flying Trunk follows a young boy desperate to discover the truth to his grandmother’s stories, however bizarre they may seem to his mother. His grandmother (Zunchi Devi) tells her grandson (Arush Thakur) that their local deity had gifted his father and grandfather a mystical flying trunk. Transfixed by the story, the boy sets about trying to find the flying trunk. Everyone in the village remains convinced that the grandmother is just a mad old woman. His mother (Divya Tegta) is dubious that her son will find the answers he’s looking for. Although the grandmother’s story is full of gods and magic, it is also a way to cope with the grief of losing her loved ones. Kawar is high up in the mountains, enveloped in a soft rolling fog. The cinematography executed by Yashwant Kumar Sharma and Siddharth Chauhan is beautiful and straightforward. Wooden houses dot along the misty, verdant rolling hills, reminiscent of Andrei Tarkovsky’s photography in Mirror. The pacing in The Flying Trunk is slow and intentional. We watch as the grandmother gradually sits in her own trunk on her veranda. She sinks into the chest, and we admire the indigo night. In some films, this shot may have been boring, but in The Flying Trunk, the simple action of sitting is contemplative. Colour is carefully considered throughout this film. The outside is a haze of warm browns, cool dark greys and lush greens. Inside, the light changes and yellow and orange tones flood the room. Not only is The Flying Trunk beautiful, but it isn’t without substance. As the grandmother tells her grandson the story of the flying trunk, there’s something else going on underneath the surface. This isn’t a just simple rural myth, but instead, the grandmother is grieving her loved ones. She tells the flying trunk story to her grandson to soften the blow of death. As her community distances from her, and her daughter-in-law keeps her inside, the grandmother feels an emotional connection with the wooden trunk. The viewer empathises with the grandmother, but the audience also understands the young boy’s curiosity about the mystical trunk. This short film comments on death and grief, but its commentary is gentle, understated and emotive. From one of the remotest locations in the world, Chauhan has created a remarkable film. Quiet, and seemingly unassuming, The Flying Trunk is a fascinating exploration of grief, and the myths and stories we tell ourselves to help keep ourselves sane.


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