Directed by: Satyajit Das
Written by: Satyajit Das
Starring: Senha Biswas, Tiyas Dey
Director Satyajit Das has made a few short films since this one, but this article will be reviewing his first short, a depiction of India and the lower class’s living conditions. Whilst it is rough around the edges, it is still good for what it is.
In India, a boy (Tiyas Dey) is taking care of his catatonic and presumably coma-stricken mother (Senha Biswas). Both are poor, clearly living in the slums. The boy goes out to get supplies.
As one could tell from that short synopsis, Two World is very minimalistic, relying purely on visuals and music. It does not have much of a story, nor does it have much characterisation beyond “sad child that perseveres” and “mother that is catatonic”. Yet this works in a naturalistic way in depicting what it must be like for a child to live in the slums. It feels like a peak into a different environment with no artifice, with only the music being an artificial touch. There also is a narrative arc to some degree, which is useful in giving a beginning, middle and end to a film without a story.
The thick atmosphere is guided by the authentic camerawork that looks almost documentary-esque yet uses visual storytelling, with a focus on low angle shots that emphasise the smallness of the boy in comparison to the world he lives in and a few high angle ones that are used when he is with his mother, to show how he takes on the role of the carer for her. These choices are not incredibly creative, but they make the film not feel dry. The music also keeps some attention, even if the tracks are not the best composed.
The lack of story and character is admittedly the only thing that holds this short film back from being better. Both attributes would have added meat to the bone, but the lack of them means that there is not much here to analyse beyond symbolism. As for any technical flaws, the colour palette is very bland and ugly to look at as well. Even though this was most likely intentional it does get in the way. There are also a couple of moments where the camera focus is inconsistent.
Two World is a decent short film with a lack of substance but a good and authentic portrayal of living in the slums in India. It is not especially worth watching yet it still succeeds in it’s aim.