Directed by Danny Germansen/ Reviewed by Adva Reichman
Manifestation – directed by Danny Germansen / Reviewed by Adva Reichman
Manifestation takes you on a painful journey inside the mind of a man, broken by the ugliness of this world. It’s where the sad and damaged exist. The people who others don’t see or care about.
The film begins with an explanation about who X is and what led him to where he is at today. After we learn how life ruined him in every way, shape and form, we get the last bit of information – he has a gun.
We then meet him and get to see inside his soul. We hear his deepest thoughts and so, his pain becomes our pain. His anger becomes our anger. His choices become our flashing red signs that calls us to wake up and ask ourselves – Can we do better?
Honestly, I thought the narration throughout the film and the imagery were so strong and made such an impact that I didn’t even need the explanations at the beginning.
The director, Danny Germansen, did an amazing job capturing the loneliness and emptiness that take over X. The film is black and white because life is black and white for X. There is no room for air, hope or future. The only color we do get to see is the color of blood. Death. The end of all.
Marek Magierecki, who played X, went all out and committed himself to the role. He is tormented by his own mind, by what society is and brought into his life. X narrates his thoughts for us as we see his simple, empty life. Alone in a room, where he has less than the basics to survive. But with those come drugs and a gun.
Whenever he steps outside, the reality of it all hits him. People aren’t real, or that they are but he can no longer see them, and they don’t see him. Not really. The majority of them are covered with masks.
The ones that aren’t supposedly give you hope, but that is quickly taken away too. For instance, X sees a little girl, supposedly the picture of innocence, but she plays with guns and smiles while doing it. The director shows us how the world teaches us from a young age that killing is ok.
We finally get a sliver of hope when X makes human connection. A woman removes her mask and the two look each other in the eye. But that is quickly taken from us and him, as the woman gets yelled at by another woman and is ordered to look away.
The masked people laugh and emotionally abuse X, they kick him down and leave him there. We can’t know if they are real or a figure of his imagination, but at that point we understand they are a symbol for everyone who tells anyone they are worthless. For those who try to shine, by stepping on others. The low place X reached is a badge of shame for us all.
Danny used clever editing to surprise and intrigue us. His choices were carefully planned, and it shows. Even though the world is black and white, we are constantly seeing new objects and feelings in play. As the masked people ignore each other and mock X, as the only human connection is lost, and as X loses himself and falls naked into the darkness, he finds what he feels is his only way out. But to leave an impact, to mark his exit, he goes even darker.
The score, written by Daria Baiocchi, adds to that feeling of disturbance. It’s accurate and on point and makes X’s state of mind that much clearer.
The path X chose is one to be condemned, but the path the world chose is at fault too. The director questions and criticizes society, asking why people act the way they do. And through that, wishes to send a message. This film is unapologetic, honest and tragic. And it is worth your time.