A man part of an evil sect is starting to doubt his actions. As a new victim is prepared to be executed he himself emerges as being trapped by the condition he had chosen.
Gustav Bondeson’s short film ‘Man is Cruel‘ is sensorially acoustic, suspenseful and mysterious. While not many details are given away except for the fact that an evil sect is hunting down people, the drama of the main character emerges quite clearly: he’s being cornered between his remorses and the practices of the sect who suspects him off switching sides.
True grit is acting right in the most highly pressured moments and taking the right decision no matter the costs. It is possibly what director Gustav Bondeson hint at with the final scene in which the main character is pointing the gun at the victim while he himself is threatened. Things remain unclear as the visuals cut off right when one of the guns is triggered. Did he make the right choice or was he the one who pulled the trigger? Was this a last sacrifice that had to be redeemed before he could take action against the evil or was this the end of the road for him? From this point of view – remaining unclear – ‘Man is Cruel’ has a strange power to mirror oneself back as the outcome is up to the viewer to decide. What is also interesting is the effect produced by the film’s title in combination with the undecided ending; it can be interpreted as a way of challenging the viewer to test their views on humanity. A positive mind confident in man’s ability to change will choose to think the character did the right thing – in this case not pull the trigger at the cost of own sacrifice – while those sharing a view of disbelief in humanity might have him having pulled the trigger.
Built up from succinct straightforward shots, containing the needed essence only and putting the focus on the main character’s receptivity of his own circumstances, ‘Man is Cruel’ was awarded the 2nd Place for Best TMFF Film of May 2017 for its genuine manner of pointing to the moral confinement man builds around himself.