Three Distinct Impressions
2 Dec 2021
Bijan Karim, Jacqueline Welbers, Kellen Jackson
Three Distinct Impressions is a short by director and star Bijan Karim that makes a great impression of its own, with dynamic direction and an elusive and engaging story which is not afraid to take risks.
The film follows Parker (Karim), an enigmatic figure who agrees to return a wallet to his ex-girlfriend Sydney’s (Jacqueline Welbers) new partner. He attends a house party to seek out the mysterious Rachita (Kellen Jackson). But as he undertakes his search, his own questionable actions catch up with him – and his perception of the present uncovers shocking realities.
It is impressive how much Three Distinct Impressions manages to accomplish in its short runtime. The film features considered and believable performances, dynamic and lively direction and cinematography, stimulating characters and an impressive array of themes that leave audiences considering the ramifications of what they have just witnessed – not to mention enough intrigue to demand a second watch.
The film explores the consequences and ramifications of lies and untruths – both to one’s self and those around them – and how our own perceptions of ourselves can be lost within these. Parker is presented as a habitual liar, and a character viewers may find themselves uncomfortable in the presence of. However deeper realities that the film explores hints at a far more central conflict for the protagonist – and the reasoning for his constant truth-twisting becomes a much more complex question.
The director is smart enough to leave enough of the film ambiguous in relation to Parker, whilst still making clear and significant statements through filmmaking. The story is interpretive – and the plot is up to the task of pacing viewers through events without becoming overly confusing. There are also some excellent hints at the story’s true meaning littered throughout for a second-time watch. The script features natural dialogue in which characters come across as authentic and cool without being obnoxious or overly-scripted (apart from in Parker’s case, where it is entirely appropriate…)
Direction is impressive, with a long third-person shot of Parker’s exploits as he explores the house party a particular highlight. Cinematographer Wolfgang Gmoser also deserves praise for the lighting in the party scenes and in Sydney’s apartment, with bold and contrasting colours that add further life into the film. Shots of the house party band Tanglers threaten to drag the movie to a halt, but instead help establish the film’s world outside of the character’s perspective.
The cast are all largely impressive and succeed in their portrayals. Bijan Karim is a little stiff in some moments, but distance and awkwardness are a requirement to add flavour to Parker. Jacqueline Welbers’ Sydney is suitably bitter, and her own conflict is displayed effectively.
Films with interpretive and mysterious elements at their heart always run the risk of losing viewers along the way if they fail to properly sell their primary question, and do not provide engaging characters for the audience to explore this with. Three Distinct Impressions is a fine example of how to execute this correctly, and is certainly worth the multiple watches for the full experience.