Screenplay by Jaroslaw Gogolin | Reviewed by Anushka Dutta
Genre: Supernatural Historical Fiction
Number of pages: 118
Premise: Queen Odyna and her Female Warriors frantically cast about for the Princess defeated at war, who gets rescued from death’s door by a Blacksmith. It is later revealed by the Shaman that the destiny of ALL depends on the survival of the Princess.
About: Director, Editor, Writer, Producer and Screenwriter, Jaroslaw Gogolin, based in London, has a great knack for visual creativity. Known for multiple short films and feature films, some notable ones being “Weedomania” 2015, “Mysterious Forest the Witch” (2017) and “Once Upon a Time on a Hallows’ Eve” (2018), Gogolin now comes with his feature film “Black Forest Mystery” – a mystical historical fiction; based in a land where matriarchy is the norm and the men are hegemonized, downtrodden and tyrannized. In the world of “Black Forest Mystery”, the male chauvinism of the world we live in has been reversed to an extremist rule under the females.
Review: The concept of “Black Forest Mystery” is naturally intriguing. Within the first ten to fifteen pages of the script, Gogolin manages to successfully draw his readers into the plot. There is a steady pace to the progression of the storyline, with a riveting and absorbing build up. The scriptwriter deftly establishes each shot and comes back to the dominant ones over and over to get his readers used to the atmosphere of the story.
Although it is a fictitious tale of fantasy involving queens, princesses, warriors, witchcraft, sorcery and heroic destinies, and may presumably come off as a script for all age groups, it certainly is not a typically entertaining read. The story entails violence in all forms, be it verbal, moral or sexual. At some points in the script, one ought to take a moment to gulp down the horrors faced by boys from 18-year-olds to newborns.
Regardless of whether you are a female subjected to the despotism and injustice of our male-dominated world, one cannot relish the reversal of gender roles in its extreme forms as depicted by Jaroslaw Gogolin in his “Black Forest Mystery”. But ironically enough, it is the ruthlessness and brutality that makes his plot more captivating and engrossing. So, with sufficient conflicts, challenges and obstacles for the Blacksmith and the Princess, and some life and death scenarios, the scriptwriter provides for the dramatic element. With adequate and descriptive scene headings, establishing shots, transitions, parentheticals, actions, dialogues, dream sequences and intercuts, you can deem the writing style to be skillful if you overlook a bunch of syntax errors. The descriptions of the screenplay are quite visual and lucid. The readers are artfully adjusted to the atmosphere of the film through the repetition of locales.
Gogolin has shown his mastery in scriptwriting by ensuring that every scene either reveals a character trait or helps in the advancement of the plot. Here, we can give an instance to describe both. When the Midwife of Queen Odyna’s kingdom defies the laws of her queen upon the birth of a son by Odyna’s Daughter and discreetly leaves the child at the care of the residents of the Oak Village instead of killing it as instructed, it not only discloses her disloyalty to her Queen but also lays the foundation for one of the rising actions in the plot – the battle between the Midwife and the Sorcerer.
The Blacksmith plays the typical role of the protagonist who has a bigger purpose. But the scriptwriter equally attends to all his other lead characters like the Princess, his principally silent and elusively portrayed heroine; the tyrannical but tactical Queen Odyna, the antagonist; and the Sorcerer, the anti-heroine. Each of these characters has a strong and definite dramatic need, communicated explicitly to the readers. Gogolin’s characters are crafted with a touch of complexity and mysteriousness, the lead characters being multi-dimensional.
From Script to Film: Overall, it is an engaging and exciting read. Jaroslaw Gogolin takes his readers to a story packed with thought-provoking actions and transcendental sequences. So, one can easily emphasize the fact that if this screenplay were to be executed into a film, it would be both visually as well as psychologically gratifying. Although not suitable for all kinds of audiences, if you enjoy a horror-inducing dramatic fable, you are good to go. Moreover, there are great opportunities for actors to show their skills through the versatile roles created by Gogolin in his story.
Anushka Dutta is a student of English Honours, and a part-time content writer. A writer, singer and an artist; they have worked as an ambassador for Japan Film Festival in 2020 organized in Kolkata, India. They are a professional singer and have done playback singing in movies.