Ego Sum (I Am!)
Directed by Waner Biazus| Review by Antonio Rozich
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]aner Biazus’ Ego Sum is a simple short film that successfully manages to give a lot by presenting little and keeping it simple. It starts with two characters filming the insides of a church for a documentary; nothing out of the ordinary there. But what soon follows is most likely more than they bargained. Here’s the trick – although it’s not necessarily something they prefer, it is something that captures their ordinary human minds.
From the filmmaking perspective, this mixture of danger and intrigue comes out perfectly. No matter where the shots come from, they create an almost unsettling feeling of somebody secretly watching the two characters. For a moment, it seems the audience is the illusive observer, but in reality, it’s somebody both the characters and the audience aren’t aware of. Combined with quick shots that change just like intense heartbeats and music, you get an entangling initial scene. It’s a scene that introduces both the story and what’s about to happen.
A powerful addition to this is the fact everything that happens next unravels in the very same scene. Biazus doesn’t reach out to additional tools to build up the story. Everything is there from the beginning and it’s all about juggling the elements to provide an intriguing experience. It would be more precise to say that the pace slowly builds up. With each second, the interchanging of the shots becomes more rapid and the thunder intensifies. All these small elements create a complete image that gives a fulfilling experience. In a way, it’s the same as frescos decorating the church walls. One image provides a single story. But the more you broaden the picture and discover various elements, the more rewarded you feel.
With the pinnacle of the film, Biazus doesn’t merely spill the beans. He doesn’t reveal the point by giving answers. Instead, it’s more accurate to say he provides even more questions to his audience. Is there a hidden message behind the church imagery or is it all a well-crafted red herring? Is the mysterious visitor genuinely what he seems to be or not? What’s interesting is that Biazus as a cartoonist and a comic artist manages to transfer the atmosphere of a comic to a motion picture.
The church imagery and the film shots themselves feel as if you’re reading a comic where the images are moving and speaking directly to you as a reader/viewer. It’s a common practice for comic characters to break the boundaries of a comic window to produce a dynamic flow for the reader. The same phenomenon happens in the film as well. Playing with the foreground and the background, specific shots break the invisible border between the two perspectives. What you might think is the background becomes foreground with a simple drop of blood and vice versa. This is something that can be understood only by watching the film.
Ego Sum builds up precisely like when a master painter paints a complex fresco. It starts with a single image and ends up with an overwhelming story and experience. Something the old masters knew long before but also something the masters that are yet to come must learn. Build your art patiently, one step at a time and show who you are: Ego Sum!
Antonio Rozich is the Chief Editor for Cult Critic and enjoys anything has to do with filmmaking. Besides his usual copywriting work, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When the day’s work is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction, which he posts on his site Syeta Stories.