One of the reasons why ‘It’s So Charming‘ is such a charming short film is precisely because it has such an ironic title. In fact, Svend Colding contracts in his project a short fragment of social reality about everything that can be more charmless in interpersonal relationships. Nothing escapes his vigilant eye and his sharp perspective: hypocrisy, behavioural and verbal artificiality, dysfunctional family ties, condescension, passive aggression, and so on and so forth. And above all these, there is the statuary and unbearably authentic image of the Father, of the Patriarch who perfectly embodies the most drastic Freudian features. However, beyond the Freudian layer that defines the essential character of this vast and seemingly impenetrable social falsehood, the short film is not just the drama of the son “castrated” by his own father. It is both a cynical look at a retrograde mentality, an exposure of absurd family rigors and a corrosive social critique of the “elitists” who have made from the permanent evasion of naturalness a true philosophy of life.
When the prodigal son visits his father to celebrate his parents’ silver wedding, he avoids saying that he will soon be a father too. The problem is that his girlfriend is not yet ready to see the true face of her future in-laws. Who will have the courage to stand for their own truth? The contrasts between the apparent elegance of this “well-mannered” world and the silent noise of the protagonists, for whom repression has become such a recurring act that it has become a defining part of their lives, is by far the central counterpoint that Svend Colding intelligently captures with a bitter dexterity. Obviously, all this treacherous rigidity has every chance to erupt in a splendid exercise in hysterical realism. This does happen in the end, but maybe not loud enough to give the viewer a real climax of emotional detonations. We hope that the feature version of the short film ‘It’s So Charming’ will push even more further this extremely well-made masquerade towards what could become a delicious, frantic and comforting shattering of the artificiality of social and family norms. Therefore, we are convinced that such a talented director will have no difficulty in achieving this.
For the authenticity with which it depicts the hypocrisy of a self-sufficient “elite”, for the intelligence with which it observes the emotional block of the one unable to assert their own identity and for the professionalism with which the director orchestrates all this infernal family protocol, ‘It’s So Charming’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the April 2021 edition of TMFF.