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The Value of a Life short film review


Directed by: #KarlJClaridge

Written by: #BarbaraSpevack

Short film review by: Brian Penn


The 75th anniversary of VE Day sets the present in perspective and pays tribute to sacrifices made for the greater good. This short film by Karl J. Claridge provides a snapshot of Hitler’s Germany and the brutal treatment metered out to those who were different. Diana Hoffman (Barbara Spevack) awaits her fate in a cold white bricked cell. She is soon confronted by Sturmbannfuhrer Richter (Karl J. Claridge) who is investigating a bomb attack on a crematorium. The identity of the culprit is not a major concern but he needs to find someone, anyone to charge with the crime. As a Jewish woman Diana knows her options are limited and Richter has ways of making her talk. All Richter needs is a name but will that necessarily get Diana off the hook?

The film aims to quantify the value of life when it clearly meant so little; but sits on a narrative loop that continually asks the same question which invariably provokes the same response. Aryan supremacy and anti-Semitism are familiar themes that the viewer can take as read. Then precious screen time could have been preserved for the film’s true narrative. But it failed to explore Barbara’s motivation and desire to protect members of the resistance movement in Germany.

The visuals set the scene perfectly, but it just lingers too long on detail that should be obvious. Before you know it the closing titles are starting to roll and wonder what happened to the story. The film generates tremendous atmosphere with an almost palpable sense of claustrophobia. Yet the premise is lost by a limited and repetitive script The Value of a Life is a promising concept that failed to deliver the payoff it deserved.

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