Crafting a short film is a tricky premise. A story has to be told in shorthand, there’s less time to be with the characters and the film has to make an impact swiftly to be a success. Writer/directors will often use this medium as a stepping stone – a way to hone their craft ready for a feature that will require longer form storytelling and more juggling of actors, locations and more intricate plots.
Writer/director David Bartlett’s short, Mousie, is a brief, well-realized tale of threat under Nazi rule. A Roma girl – played with wide-eyed innocence by Sasha Watson-Lobo – hidden in a Weimar cabaret club loses her precious teddy, the Mousie of the title, and sets off to find it. However, a junior SS officer is watching the show; a dancer (played by CJ Johnson) he has designs on is hiding the girl in her dressing room, her Roma mother having been sent to a camp – and no doubt death.
Well shot by Paul Kirsop, this conjures up a Berlin in fear and rising persecution with economy and style and tells a foreboding tale of ingenuity amidst the gathering horror. There’s a nod to Art Spiegelman’s epic harrowing tale of Nazi persecution, Maus, in the choice of cuddly toy too. A well performed short that lingers, countering the transformative power of theatre against oppression.
Dir: David Bartlett (12A) (17 mins)
Available to watch online via Omeleto
words KEIRON SELF
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