R E V I E W – S H O R T F I L M
Production House: House of Chaos
Story & Screenplay: Rezaur Rahman
Release Date: 2 January, 2021
Keeping a distance from people and staying isolated at home for months is an alien situation for all of us. On top, the situation gets even more frightening as the Covid-19 virus is engulfing more and more lives everyday. In the midst of this global pandemic, House of Chaos has produced an eight-minute-long short film directed by the young digital creator Rezaur Rahman, titled Positivity. It starts off well, with a genuine plot that delivers a glimpse of a married jobless man in his mid-thirties or forties, struggling with the coronavirus outbreak. The daily hardships that he, as a representative of every unemployed Bangali man, and his family endure because of the worldwide crisis, are vividly portrayed in this film.
In the beginning, the sole title of the short film engraves a simple toned impression in mind. The only sense of expression anyone could get from the first few moments of this short film, is an optimistic attitude regarding the pandemic, or as the title suggests something “positive”. But as soon as the film begins, it gives away the irony that lies behind the story.
The ‘positive’ feeling that is initiated with the title suddenly vanishes when the film starts portraying the recent pandemic situation, using a delicate background noise of TV news. At this point, the film reveals a quite anxious and depressing time of the pandemic. The depression soon aggravates as the story reveals the mental state of a jobless middle-aged man, that mutated into a rather more twisted approach to his daily life in this society. It gives us this tragic reality check that a huge part of the population is more damaged with the psychological and economic issues, rather than the health issue of this heinous virus itself. The film describes that situation rather quite cathartically, which is capable to move the audience’s thoughts.
As the film gets to the middle of its runtime, the story then paints a heartwarming mood by showing the main character reaching out his helping hand and kindness towards other people who are struggling in this hard situation. Such acts of kindness set the standard of the protagonist from a depressed soul to a brave hero. But in the very end, the twisted dark mindset that had initiated from the story’s depressing setback starts to unveil. The ‘hero’ then suddenly becomes the sadistic mind of a villain. Perhaps these sudden toggles are the story’s main purpose of truly making it attractive, and as well as approachable in the case of balancing the binary oppositions between good and evil.
On the other hand, these toggles are not sudden enough as they gave away some of their twists at the initial portion of the short film. Some of the scenes, for example, are needlessly repetitive which can force us to predict the conclusion. The last-minute exposition of a completely different side of Sazzad Chowdhury is quite hasty in a way, but is also thrilling as it makes us reconsider what we expected from this film since the beginning. The overall quality of the film is hard to ignore, along with the message given in the end as the post-credit — delivered by the lead role himself. The screenplay and visual effects were a big positive, adding to the thrilling aspects of the film, so was the only song in the film – “Upohash” by Shandhokahon. The transition of the background sounds however, was found wanting.
Kaarina Kaiser portrayed the struggles of middle class housewives dealing with stress, fear, and emotional vulnerability in an uncertain time like this through her character. In addition to that, the protagonist also did a decent job at portraying a dual personality like Sazzad Chowdhury. Portraying both the roles of victim and victimiser, was indeed courageous.
To conclude, the only thing that keeps grinding inside my head after watching this short film was — for a developing country like Bangladesh, where most of the time media is on the verge of portraying unrealistic events/stories with zero logic or reason whatsoever, House of Chaos has attempted to make a clear vision of the actual events and reality through the lens of romanticised and toxic positivity. The global pandemic has not just jeopardised the lives of common people, but also has been messing with our heads. The alarming rate of the increased psychological pressure/trauma is there — untreated and unnoticed, and Positivity has offered just a subtle hint of how far this might lead someone without giving a second chance.
Fiana is a human-ish writer by day and a Scorpio coven witch by nightfall. Reach out to her @_ffikipedia_ to share any thoughts.