Hi, I’m Dan @ Au Contraire Film Festival

In most large places of work there is that person who falls between the cracks. The person who just doesn’t quite fit in so no one really talks to them. Humans are often harsh. We judge. We are not always inclusive. We exclude those who are different. It would not be that difficult to say “hi” to that loner in the office, would it? What harm would be done?

People with mental health issues are not to be rejected or feared. Isolation does not help anyone. Maybe if one person had paid attention to or got to know Dan (David Perez-Ribada – Harder They Fall) he would not end up in the mess he is by the end of the film.

In front of the camera this is a one man show with David Perez-Ribada being the sole actor. The very short (under five minutes) film takes place exclusively in Dan’s bedroom. Dan has worked in the IT department of the same company for 15 years, we learn. He has decided it is time to spread his wings and look for another job.

As he is getting dressed we learn that he has an interview. He is in front of his mirror practicing what he is going to say. Things like “Hi, I’m Dan.” As he practices the more flustered he gets. Showing his anxiety, Dan changes his shirt several times. Tie…no tie…everything seems to irritate him now. Soon he begins to spiral downwards and ends up in a mess on his bedroom floor.

A part of the problem with mental illness is that it is not really visible. Not like a cast on a broken arm anyway. So we tend to ignore. Or not deal with people we know who have mental health issues. That is clearly portrayed in director Rosa Rodriguez’s film. Hammered home when Dan calls his work, a place he has worked for over a decade, and the person on the other end does not seem to know who he is. Even when he says his name…

Everything here is simple but effective. No real over the top drama. Until called for. A man who wants a little more out of life. Nothing crazy, just a different job and a boss who he doesn’t hate. Dan is unfulfilled. When his anxiety ramps up so much that he is not even able to attempt what he wants he is crushed. A seemingly simple thing to all except the person involved.

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