Society doesn’t always reward each one to their own nature and it often fails to protect the ‘disadvantaged’ turning them in change into martyrs. A gang of punks are looking to provoke some trouble and show off. When a interracial couple, a young white woman and a black man, pass by them it’s the perfect pretext for the three blunt minds to pick a hole in the couple’s coat. Decided to give the Afroamerican man a ‘lesson’ they follow him up on the purpose of aggressing him.
Anthony Renault’s short film ‘An American Story’ courageously approaches a very delicate issue very present in the American society nowadays: the acts of violence and racism against black people. The two characters impersonating the interracial couple are the archetype of those still feeling the effect of contemporary prejudices and trying to make a stand for the democratic liberties that apply impartially to everyone.
The message behind Anthony Renault’s film is very astringent and is dramatically trying to raise awareness: while white people have their own scums oppressing the innocent regardless of their race, authorities tend to get biased and make discriminatory assumptions that in a conflict it is always the Afroamerican’s fault. Combined with the rushed urgency to action this can lead not only to great tragedy but also to great injustice. It is a very bitter ending the director chooses, one that emphasises the guilt the innocent take upon themselves defending and protecting the injustice of others. Where would it lead to if this was happening every time an act of crime was committed? Wouldn’t this be the destination inversely proportional to democratic values?
Beyond its strong message, ‘An American Story’ is outstandingly backed up by a natural impersonation of the characters and the superb looking cinematography. While the acting mesmerises the audience by ‘dishing up’ a varied performance from all actors from moments of tenderness to consternation, rage, pure hate and fear, cinematography patiently takes over the story telling rewarding the viewer with not only a wonderful framing but also with an ingenious sequence of shots meant to stir the exact amount of suspense and bring forth the exact emotion corresponding the moment. Skilful both behind the camera and as a director, Anthony Renault casts much confidence and control from backstage, devising his film with precision.
‘An American Story’ is one of the most suspenseful films we’ve hosted in our festival and TMFF has awarded it for its mastery with the 2nd Prize for Best Short Film Of December 2016.