Irish short film True-D (2012) uses an imaginative technique to give a simple story about human compassion a creative twist.
The mostly unscripted short by Noel Brady (An Tain, Duality, Movers and Shakers) tells the story of John Walker (Michael Bates – Derelict) another victim of the Recession driven to suicidal thoughts by his desperate circumstances. On his journey to end it all, however, he is interrupted by a busker with magic 3D glasses which allow him to see how others he encounters in that moment – a prostitute, a homeless man and a despairing businessman facing unemployment – ended up in their hopeless situations.
The film, set to an effectively dreamy and melancholic soundtrack by Elder Roche, bridges the gap between grim reality and fantasy with the use of shadows to tell each character’s own bleak story.
When John wears the magic glasses, he can see the tragic descent of each character into their current reality. We see a woman, whose destitution forces her to sell her body on the street. When we look again through John’s new glasses, the shadows on the wall tells her story of how she was lured into a life of prostitution by a drug-pushing pimp. She has been cast to the fringes of society without hope and with her child having been taken from her, now survives only for her next fix.
The director wanted his film to challenge our perceptions of others, to urges us not to cast judgment on those who society deems the ‘undesirables.’
Brady told Film Ireland, ‘The whole idea for True-D came about from just people watching, sometimes you see people and they look as if they are carrying the weight of world on their shoulders. And it seemed to me that if for just one moment, you could see peoples lives, see the weight they carry, then maybe we just might show a little more understanding and humanity for our fellow man. And that’s what this short film is all about. I had had the idea of using shadows for quite sometime, but I could never come up with a device to use in the film to allow the character and us the audience to see people as the truly are. And that’s when I got the idea of the 3-D glasses.’
To date True-D has being screened in the Corona Fastnet Film Festival in Cork, The Charlie Chaplin Comedy film Festival in Kerry, Underground Cinema both in Ireland and in London.
The creative ‘shadow’ technique, the topical message behind the film and the emotive soundtrack is what made it the ‘Best Irish Short’ at the recent Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival.
The actors, recognisable from the Irish film circuit, (Conor Marren, Hilary Cotter, Fergal Cleary, Mark Schrier) expressively portray the anguish of the characters without words, driving home their vulnerability at the hands of an often ruthless and condemnatory society.
While the film’s ‘recessionary times’ topic is far from original, and its ending skates very close to a sentimental, Sunday-School ‘love thy neighbour’ display, the original dramatic methods used to convey this message, the fitting soundtrack and credible acting make it a worthwhile prize-winner amongst Irish shorts.