Little secret/Strach (Czech Republic 2013)

Lenka

Lenka

This was an entry in the Louis Le Prince International Short Film Competition at the Leeds International Film Festival. The film, which runs for 20 minutes, is based on actual events in 2012. I missed the beginning of this film – an occupational hazard at festivals.

Apparently the main protagonist Tomás, attending a party with his girl friend Lenka, fell down a stairwell. He sustained serious injuries and ended up in hospital where he had to have a kidney removed. Partly to protect Lenka he claimed the injuries resulted from an attack by Romany youths. I joined the film at the point at which he has given a statement to the police to this effect.

The rest of the film tracks the increasing pressures on Tomás and Lenka as his ‘attack’ becomes a major issue. This is fuelled by a television interview at the hospital re-iterating his accusation. This feeds into what appears to be media frenzy and an atmosphere of racist prejudice against Romany.

The film has very good production values and performances. I was particularly struck by the excellent use of modern computer graphics. There is one impressive sequence which mattes the hospital ward, the television, and Facebook and Twitter entries. And the editing is also extremely effective. There are several brief flashbacks, including one in a deserted city street. This then becomes the site of a fleeting glimpse of a large and heated demonstration.

Given the liberal critique that obviously informs this film you can probably guess that Tomás comes clean on the events of the earlier night. The film leaves it to the audience to fill in the resolution of the narrative ending at this point. We then get the credits, in bright red. Appropriate.

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