BITE ME! by SERGEI SAFIULLIN

Directed by Sergei Safiullin / Reviewed by Akarsh jaiswal

I remember when I was very young, my mom and dad had a fight, and at the end of it, my dad left his hand print on my mother’s cheek. That was my first instance  to see something like that.  I didn’t know what just happened and what to do because I had never seen anything like that before. Good news is, this was not a usual occurrence in our house. He later on apologized to her and made her feel good, which I also witnessed. I never saw anything like that again happening in my house.

Fact is  couple fights. Every married couple goes to war, or worse, cold war. But when a man is high on his masculinity, he thinks that  “it’s okay” to beat his wife or partner,  he thinks that this is what being a man means. He thinks that it’s okay to torture someone physically or mentally who he claimed to love once. Or worse, he beat because he loves.  But the the worst of all is to beat a little kid until he is  unable to make a noise, not even be able to cry. Even monsters will shy away from such beings.

Domestic violence is something we see and observe in our daily lives on some levels. We can’t deny that it does not exist. I’m sure you’ve heard screams, yellings, cries in your neighborhood and sometimes in even your own home. That noise is not any regular noise. That’s the noise of a person turning into something else and hurting another person.

The origin of such mentality in a person starts from their childhood. When small kids grow up seeing domestic violence, they start thinking that it’s a normal thing. At first a child gets scared and run away, the next time they might get close,  and the next to next time they might experience up close. As the time passes, this becomes usual for that kid and he accepts it as any other regular thing. But the effects remain. And that kid will grow up and might end up doing the same thing in front of their kids and the chain continues.

Sergei Safiullin’s short film ‘Bite Me’ deals with this horrifying subject of Domestic Violence, which has the the ability to put you on the spot. No, I mean literally as the film is shot in P.O.V (Point-of-View) format. A man is thrashing his wife and you experience the whole thing in the POV which makes you see from the victim’s eyes and feel the desperation and pain.

The whole thing happens in just 5 minutes and leaves you in a shock. The climatic section when things get shockingly serious is well handled. The concept and writing by the Director himself is edgy and keeps you hooked from the first frame itself. I love the POV format and making this film in this format was a wise choice. The atmospheric music is great.  It keeps the tension rising. As it’s a very short and crisp film, talking about it more might be a spoiler, but all I can say is that, as much as the subject is cruel, it’s one hell of a ride to watch. The cast of the film includes Sierra Keys, Shaun Fraser and Christopher Navarro. We mostly hear Sierra as we are watching everything from her point of view, and I don’t know how Sierra pulled it off, but you get goosebumps in your bones just hearing her voice. Shaun on the other hand is visible to us, he is “doing stuff” to her and it’s cruel. I’m sure many people will be reminded of the monster they encountered at least once by his near to real performance. Little Christopher comes, and changes the whole dynamics of the film. His face lights up the frame.

At the end I want to say that we when we see or observe something like this around us, we think that it’s their personal matter, they’ll resolve it. Why should we go into it? We should mind our business. Well, our business isn’t gonna stop thriving if we take a step. We don’t have to go there ourselves.  We  can simply make a call to the authorities and let them handle it. Because we do not want a kid to see his mother getting hurt by his ‘hero’.

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