Art can often illustrate serious subjects better than mere words can. With film’s combination of visuals, language, setting, music, and body language/facial expressions, you get a more moving and in-depth look at a subject. This one uses the backdrop of one of the worst times in human existence to demonstrate that hope is always possible.
In Berlin in 1936, we are before the breakout of war but the Nazis were already demonstrating what was to come. Jews and Roma refugees (or gypsies, as they were called) were being rounded up as they wanted to cleanse the country of undesirables before Berlin was to host the Olympics.
In an establishment where a burlesque troupe is performing, a female performer (CJ Johnson) has a 7-year-old Roma refugee hidden away. Katharina promises the youngster that they will soon be leaving for America where they can see Mickey Mouse. Promising that in America everyone is welcomed, no matter the colour of their skin.
But like most kids that age, Helene (Sasha Watson-Lobo – first film) gets bored and comes out of hiding no matter how many times she is warned not that it is dangerous for her. One of the times she comes out is the wrong time as there is a German soldier (Jack Bennett – The Dig) in the crowd. The youngster does not realize how dangerous a situation this is.
Despite the fact that this is a short film there is no shortchanging the story or viewer that happens here. The set design, costumes and music are all top notch. Director and screenwriter David Bartlett has mastered how to get across to us the gist of it all without the aid of much dialogue. He keeps the tension up almost throughout the 16 minutes of runtime.
In its few minutes it can be seen as a warning of the world we live in today. With the rise of extremism, racism and propaganda, what happened in Europe in the late 30s can happen anywhere again. A young person is there to show that hope is always there, no matter how dark the times.