„A touching reminder of innocence and the power of family“
JULIEN DUBUQUE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Timeless, impactful and to the point. Just how short films should be. Speechless is a simple story about a boy in a toy store. He is alone, he doesn’t understand, but he is like all the other kids in the toy store. He just wants to play.
As the film starts you will be greeted with words – this film intentionally has no dialogue. True to its warning, it doesn’t need them, as the story can be told visually. The audience is not supposed to understand the language; the same way characters in the film don’t understand each other.
The theme of a boy lost in a place unable to communicate carries a lot of weight today. The refugee crisis created culture clashes; it raised concerns about immigration and made some of us distrustful of other cultures. However, what happens if the main character is an immigrant boy lost in a toy store? The one place which is supposed to bring joy to children…
The director is Robin Polak, who emigrated to Germany from Czechoslovakia in the 80s. His personal experience as a small boy running away to a new country shaped this story.
He might have been the boy in the story. The boy acts as an unwilling participant in the drama that surrounds him. The audience is as clueless as the characters in the story. The nameless boy speaks an incohorensible language, he looks foreign and he is alone, that’s all we know. Using only images, the director cleverly shows what the audience should think about this situation.
Despite the short length, it’s easy to get attached to the characters. All the actors made me believe that this scene is something that could easily happen to anyone while shopping. And when you start to feel like you know where this story is going, the film manages to surprise you again.
Speechless doesn’t need to point out why or who the lone child in the story is. He can represent war, prosecution, homelessness, or anything you make it out to be. The audience can easily fill the details themselves. And will be able to do it, in five, ten or fifteen years as the theme will remain timeless.
With the strong timeless theme and visual storytelling, the movie also raises an important question. Do we need language to communicate?
It’s said that kids connect to each other easily; they do not mind race, nor language. They just want to play with their friends. Thanks to the story of a speechless boy this theme will always remain relevant. Kids will get lost, kids will be dragged along to unknown places, kids will be left alone.
The director Robin Polak successfully creates a message of human interaction. No words needed, just emotions. A timeless story that will always find it’s audience. It is a story that can happen to everyone, everywhere.
A little boy walks into a toy store full of people talking a strange and incomprehensible language. Alone he bonds with a young mother who finds a way to communicate with him without words. He is going to tell her something she never expected.
Speechless (Germany, 2016, 7 min )
Director: Robin Polak