We know that love means devotion and sincerity, but does love also mean the power to get over, to accept the beginning of a new chapter in life? It is a delicate question the short film ‘Hermit‘ tries to answer through intriguing characters who explore the neuralgic valences of love in a couple. Far from creating a cynical or ostentatious project, director Aimiende Negbenebor Sela proposes both a painful foray into the psychology of a man obsessed with the memory of the woman he still loves and an exploration of his subjective perception in an attempt to understand his inability to fill an overwhelming emotional void. Through this intimate cinematic formula, space and time are relativized, while the viewer faces the materialization of a kind of mental trial where the protagonist tries to choose between a life whose brilliance was stolen by a tragedy and an unnecessary death, drowned in resentment. From this perspective, the whole project has the consistency of an eyes-wide-open nightmare in which passion and suffering intertwine, and the protagonist is waiting for a saving sunrise that could bring, if not a miraculous emotional healing, then a certain form of resignation.


An apparent romantic dinner gradually turns into a trial in which guilt, remorse and illusions push the characters to the brink of endurance. The dawn may succeed in bringing new hope for the souls of those who loved and lost everything.


The emotional intelligence with which Aimiende Negbenebor Sela reveals the painful imaginary projections of a soul tormented by guilt is complemented by an impressive stylistic versatility that activates a series of varied states, almost incompatible, giving the viewer the chance to provide their own answer to the protagonist’s dilemma. Likewise, the deceptive but well-balanced dynamism of this project which, as it unfolds, deepens the viewers’ perspective right into the sensible core of the character’s minds, makes this meticulously constructed short film an impressive life lesson loaded with a special, almost tangible atmosphere. ‘Hermit’ is a cinematic exercise in abyssal psychology that impresses with the fragility and humanism of its characters, a short film conducted by a mature and extremely promising directorial vision.


For the intuition with which the director attacks a delicate problem of the human soul and for her professionalism with which she manipulates the components of the cinematic language, ‘Hermit’ was awarded with the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the April 2020 edition of TMFF.