Directed by: #AmineLakhnech
Written by: Amine Lakhnech
Darkly poetic and visually arresting, filmmaker Amine Lakhnech’s short film True Story is a nightmarish journey through a child’s life.
Playing on gothic themes, #horror techniques, and cinematic trickery, it is a piece of experimental cinema that is as much about the storyteller as it is the story.
A girl (Amira Essid) is born through turbulent circumstances which cause her mother to pass away during the birth. The girl herself has a noticeable defect, one which will likely cause her to experience prejudice and judgement, if she can indeed even survive. Taken under the wing of her aunt Wahida (Lobna Noomen), who looks to find any kind of cure even it is comes from black magic, the girl’s childhood is one of bizarre suffering. That is until she turns eighteen and finds new direction in the form of the “devil” (Mounira Zakraoui).
If this sounds barmy and disturbing, you are on the right path, and without the glorious narration from Peter Batchelor, True Story would be an unbearable mess of the weirdest kind. However, with all the elements put together, the piece becomes an affecting and irresistible piece of cinema that plays on some of the darkest themes and storytelling devices. From the black and white #cinematography and the gothic mise en scéne, to the fantastical characters and boldly immersive sequences, Laknech proves himself to be a #filmmaker capable of going deep into the dark and pulling something impressive out.
There were certainly elements from other dark filmmakers, such as #GuillermodelToro, yet Lakhnech states the film isn’t just drawing on inspiration from movies. Indeed, it is a collaboration of his influences, from cinema, comics, and dark arts. The result is a pitch black voyage into the bleak anxiety of the storyteller through a narrative that holds as much telling poignancy as it does drama. The #filmmaking complemented this infectiously, with a brooding atmosphere throughout which is punctuated by bizarre and disturbing action. An emotional connection to the girl is maintained well, we feel her vulnerability and are palpably terrified for her well being.
Audiences may find it difficult to immerse themselves into the wild and weird goings on of True Story, such as a baby being surrounded by noisy musicians, or a woman looking to use a knife to solve a child’s curse, however, the motifs being used are compelling enough to elevate the individual absurdity into a tapestry of terror, a collection of pathos-loaded scenes tied together through the suffering of one child.