One afternoon Dan is brutally jumped and accosted by a Gang in his neighborhood. Angel, the leader of Dans crew demands that he murder his punisher and thus earn his official "membership" into the crew: a teardrop tattoo under his eye. Dan stands at the most important crossroads in his life. Will he go through with the killing to become a member, or back out and risk standing alone? We see the film through Dans eyes and know what he experiences, but do we know who Dan is?
Director Damian John Harper uses a hand-held camera as the eyes of his silent protagonists in 2011's most gut-wrenching short film. The cameras lingering eye contact with the characters is almost more disturbing than the story's graphic violence. »Teardrop« is raw, realistic and beautiful. The malaise of the last scene is guaranteed to stay with the spectator long after the film's 14 minutes are over.
I had the pleasure to watch the short film teardrop presented by Damian John Harper at the "Und bitte" filmfestival in Hannover/Germany. The work of Mr. Harper and the whole crew is a prime example of solid work and I'd like to share my view. With this title - it's the same for me as with people you think you like because they have something weird to them, a tiny flaw, and then you realize you like them because of their qualities and feel stunned for being a smartass.
STARTSPOILER The film starts with a smash in the face of the unknown protagonist and ends with a smash in the face of the audience, in this case me. While following the protagonist through the events comprised of things we all are used to from the movies - guns and drugs, hate and violence – escalation, role clichés and decisions - the determining fact remains the question about the protagonists identity. And when it's finally lifted in the end - you feel ashamed of all the possible complicated or tricky outcomes you thought of and realize what the movie is about. It's not about all those things we're used to from the movies – guns and drugs, hate and ... – and it's not about tricky or smart outcomes. It's about someone finding his identity and us realizing this when finally seeing his face for the first time while looking him into the eyes upon being accepted into the gang, his new family. ENDSPOILER
This reminds me about my rehearsal on filmschool where i just repeated a sentence i once heard of without fully understanding it back then: "Surprise with the obvious." I know what that means – but thanks to Mr. Harper for showing it to me! a5c7b9f00b
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