Sam Bradford’s ‘Edelweiss’ gravitates around a WWII setting, although its message can be generalised to all man-made conflicts, stemming from either a lust for power, an ideological clash or a religious set of beliefs. The American army captures a wounded German soldier, who could, if he stays alive, provide them with valuable information – if coerced to do so. What the soldiers see as simply a mean to obtain potentially vital intel, the nurse who is tasked with tending to his wounds and keeping him alive sees as a human being. This is the main takeaway of the film: that we are all human beings that have feelings, passions and joys, and sometimes the fact that we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our locus of control does not change that fact or take any of the humanity away.
‘Edelweiss’ is wonderfully directed and establishes a very cinematic feel, despite the limited locations which it uses – two in fact, one of which is inside a troop transport truck, and one just outside it. However, constraints often aid projects and confer them more creative leeway, and this is exactly what happens here – each shot and transition is beautifully handled and milked of potential. What is lacking might be pinpointed on the content side – neither the exchange between the three characters who find themselves outside the truck, nor the ensuing sequences completely satisfied our expectations in terms of storytelling. The message is clear and strong, the simplicity of the interactions definitely adds a charm to the whole project, while steering clear of unnecessary filler content, but still, something is missing. While ‘Edelweiss’ certainly doesn’t need a ground-breaking ‘wow factor’ in order to improve, but it does need something else: another metaphor, a diverging viewpoint – something for the already excellent content to form a meaningful synergy with.
All in all, however, ‘Edelweiss’ reminds us that we should strive to approach every situation that we’re involved in, no matter its gravity or context, with humanity and common decency. It would not change the world as we know it, yet it would perhaps make a small but significant difference. Even if it is a minor thing, such as comforting a dying enemy soldier and asking him his name instead of simply watching him bleed out while impassively smoking a cigarette – it can bring a smile of relief, a feeling of mutual understanding, even in cases where fluent communication is hampered by constraints. Similarly, this short film does not reinvent the wheel, but by keeping its story simple and its message focused, it tries to maybe make us understands the benefits of being a decent person. For this achievement, ‘Edelweiss’ was nominated in our Best Film of the Month category for the January 2018 edition of TMFF.