Directed by Aaron Granlund and S M Huet
Short Film Review by George Nash
A classical music prodigy must navigate a neon underworld and outsmart his robot boss when he finds writing symphonies doesn't pay like it used to…
At one point in this peculiar short film, the titular character states, “I’m not even sure what I was watching”. And with that, I don’t believe a truer word has ever been spoken.
Working Class Mozart – the brainchild of Aaron Granlund & S M Huet – is pure experimentation. So much so, that it’s hard to even call this a film. In fact, it’s almost impossible to pin it down to a single definition at all. At just 4:20 mins - and perhaps quite aptly given its title – the music video is probably its closest relative – and a nightmarish one at that. A series of unnerving, oddly mesmeric visuals set to the clanging, abrupt tones of someone going overboard on a keyboard’s sound settings, Working Class Mozart is pure, unadulterated surrealism. Defunct of anything that resembles plot or narrative coherence, it’s a work that is certainly an acquired taste, and any audience expectation of linearity or logic should be left firmly at the door.
But in all its bizarreness, there is something hypnotically memorable about it. Shot with a sickly neon gloss and b-movie aesthetic, the filmmakers are servants to the Avant Garde model of creativity, opting almost exclusively for a trippy Rubik’s Cube of enigmatic, audio-visual mayhem. Working Class Mozart is what we’d imagine a David Lynch directed 80’s DIY, exercise, or softcore pornography video might look like. Try to make sense of it, and you perhaps lose the point: that there isn’t necessarily a point to it. If there is, it might just be that you’re aren’t really supposed to understand it, or even enjoy it for that matter. Instead, this is a work that is to be endured more than anything – perhaps the closest thing to being on acid without actually being on acid. An undoubtedly disconcerting viewing experience, but one that both Granlund and Huet appear to take pride in. However, in making their work so overtly playful and ambiguous, it occasionally feels like the film is trying far too hard to dislodge, and downright confuse us.
Working Class Mozart will draw you in, more than likely mess with your head, but if you aren’t looking for a serious cinematic relationship, it might just float your boat. And if you’re partial to the odd illegal substance now and again, you might just feel right at home.