Directed by: #WRohit
Thanks to the ultra-simple filming and editing software on even the most basic of smartphones, it’s never been easier to become a “#filmmaker”, which is a blessing and a curse. For those new to the industry, it means they can take their first steps without having to lug around bag after bag of Super 8 video. The curse is on the rest of us, forced to watch shorts that really should stay in iMovie.
Which is why 99% of what goes on YouTube is, frankly, unwatchable.
The other problem, for those that have a kernel of ability, is that this ease often pushesthem to be too ambitious; forget telling a relatable story, instead you’ll find unproven directors trying to out-Kubrick Kubrick to frequently abysmal consequences. But, thankfully, W Rohit is not another example. Unbound, while undoubtedly the work of an amateur, is a film that ironically knows its boundaries (both budgetary and experience-wise) to tell a simple, but resonant and powerful narrative over just fifteen minutes.
Set in a Mumbai high school, short film Unbound chronicles a short period of time in the life of Ashwin, a handsome yet haunted young man who, along with a friend who has disappeared, has been suffering at the hands of another student, both blackmailed into silence. Much of the background to his situation is told in flashback and it couldn’t be timelier: we live in an age when more and more men are ending their own lives rather than talking about their feelings. Here, the sensitively-handled themes of victim-shaming, blame and ultimately validation feel universal in an increasingly uncaring world.
Technical issues show that Rohit still has much to learn. Sound problems are plentiful (the levels are all over the place, and microphones often crackle…doctors would prescribe a hefty dose of ADR) and the subtitles are often clumsily translated. However, there is plenty here to show that he is a student of #cinema. He avoids many editing pitfalls by keeping it simple, focusing on one or two characters at a time with very few wide shots, for a cinéma vérité immediacy that really makes you empathise with the subjects on screen. Rohit is one to watch, and it’s going to be enormously exciting to see how he grows as a filmmaker.