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“Teenager in Love” short films

Just six short films, lots more emotions. We go from following young heavy metal fan Jolly in the slightly troubling Megaheavy to a match made in heaven China of two young robots going through life and its obstacles. Then there’s the young girls’ and their rather different obstacles in the Swedish Oh, my God! and Our Deal, the tragic Romeo-and-Juliet-esque romance that can never be. Seeing simplicity at its finest in Impasse and the amazingly thought-provoking Like Rats Leaving A Sinking Ship make this collection of short films worth every short minute.

Lots of great short films to choose between, however, my personal favorite is Bram Schouw’s Impasse. Its simplicity and finesse are without comparison. The Dutch film is only a few minutes long and yet, wordlessly, tells an obvious story. It all happens in one place – a train. There is a young, bald man sitting in the train, probably at night or in the later evening, and a pretty, black girl gets on and reaches up to stow her bags. Not a word is spoken, and yet the connection is clear. They glance at each other, first one, then the other, until their gazes meet. The scene has you at the edge of your seat — “Well, say something to her!”. All of a sudden, something drips on to the man’s head. She gets up to look at what it is, and we see that her perfume bottle has leaked. After a few more minutes, just as he is preparing to speak to her, it seems, the girl gets off the train. The man rubs his hands on his scalp, and breathes her perfume, her scent, her. He then turns around to gaze out the window possibly at her, and thereby reveals the catch. A big, black swastika adorns his neck.

In just a couple of minutes this short film shows just how thin the line between love and hate can be. It portrays how closely related the two emotions are: the feeling in his eyes was unmistakable – love, or, at least, attraction, you think. But then the ending leaves you in doubt.

And yet, somehow, you could argue that it was love, just not the kind you expected. Something much more complicated. Forbidden love. Love that can never be.

If things were different – what would be? What could have been? The romanticism is overwhelming. And then you become sad, somehow, knowing that his fascination will remain just that.

Both to the point and subtle, Impasse is definitely not a film to miss.

von Aida Koné-el-adji