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What I'm Hiding From You

average rating is 3 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Apr 9, 2024

Film Reviews
What I'm Hiding From You
Directed by:
Conor Devlin-Powell
Written by:
Conor Devlin-Powell
Isidro Ridout

An experimental short film about a troubled young man.


This film commemorates Autism Awareness Month April 2024 and its contents appear to follow a youth (Ridout) who is a neurodivergent.


After beginning with a title card that contains a definition of 'masking', the short moves to the protagonist, who is the only person seen in the film. There is a sort of narrative that seems to be about a man who is different (probably due to autism) and is forced to become 'normal'. To describe the story briefly, it begins with the protagonist walking on a pavement, before suffering what is probably a panic attack. Then, he is in a darkened environment, where a pair of hands wearing hygiene gloves (a doctor's hands?) are examining his face, ostensibly trying to find out what is wrong with him, why he is different and the result is the man now in an underground station, wearing a suit and a mask of an expressionless human face, apparently having now become a normal person.


This four-and-a-half-minute long film contains a variety of filmmaking techniques. Regarding the visual aspects, cinematographer Roo England often makes the image appear grainy and Powell makes extensive use of fast cutting, resulting in tense sequences. The short is separated into chapters, each apparently being a different stage of the hero's psychological transitions. During the scene where the man is extremely anxious, words appear on screen that seem to be upsetting things that people have said to him, such as 'Grow Up', 'Be Normal', 'Loner' and 'Why are you so weird?'. When it comes to the camera, Powell frequently creates close-ups of Ridout's face, obviously with the intention of catching his expressions and thanks to the actor's performance, they vividly reveal a tormented person.


Live action is combined with animation, an example being the character surrounded by animated humans while he is in a troubled state, probably judging him or mocking him. Rotoscope animation is present throughout the film, proving Powell's abilities as an animator.


Regarding the audio, there is no speech and thanks to the contributions of composer Jagun Meseorisa, there is music that sounds electronic and also tense and sinister. The film is also loaded with plenty of dynamic sound effects.


This short is a psychological drama. It is basically a commentary about neurodivergent people, about being different and being forced to become someone else. With animation and a surreal atmosphere, it explores how people with such conditions feel, the challenges they have to face including isolation and despair and it points out that sometimes people 'wear masks', meaning that they pretend they are just like others in order to be accepted.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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