Still on the second day of Dead by Dawn but the last in the grouped shorts for the day, I had originally thought I'd be struggling with these but it had all turned out to be rather good in the end, and this last film proved to be the best of the bunch.
La Guerra is a short film that carries an equally short blurb, courtesy of IMDB this is all you need to know:
During WW2 a boy tries to save himself and his baby sister from a German soldier.
That's it, and yet it's the most effective short of the weekend so far.
Once again this short, like The Hidden Face (review), takes us through the eyes of a boy, but this tale has a slight difference. From the language that the child uses you can instantly tell that he's well beyond his years, speaking with a knowledge you would only expect of an adult. For most of this tale you assume that this is due to his need to grow up so quickly during the reality of war.
The film uses the child's adult-like voice to deliver a driving narrative which pushes you to the story, driving you along with the relentless pace of the boy, only having time to react and not to think. This wonderfully rich narrative distracts you from analysing the film and ensures you deal with each scene as it happens, and wonderfully, brings an unexpected conclusion to the tale.
This perfectly constructed story is both fascinating and engaging, I was instantly captured by the splitting of the timeline through the language and narrative of the boy, and totally wrapped up in the tale from start to finish. So much so that the ending made me, along with many others in the audience, gasp with surprise.
It's a compelling and very touching tale, which plays on the other side of the child - innocence theme that was running through this short programme of shorts (if I can say that!), a child who has lost much of his innocence. This is shown in the exposition given through the early part of the narrative that gives us a cold and harsh look at what has happened to his family.
There's a great use of language through the script, and coupled with the grainy and slightly washed out style of film that suits the period so well, we're treated to a whole load of style.
The talents of both writer\directors Luiso Berdejo and Jorge C. Dorado are apparent throughout, and it's no surprise to me (once I read it) that Dorado worked closely on The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo) for there are some similarities in the style of these two films.
Again, this is a superbly crafted tale, and reminds me of some of the Tales of the Unexpected type stories I used to see on television so long ago. It's very engaging and is perfectly suited to the short genre. I loved it and really do want to see it again.