A film is not only the story it tells, but also the story behind it; more precisely, the tale of its creators. But what happens when the creator’s intention becomes irrelevant in the hands of those more concerned with the mundane than the artistic message itself? ‘Mean‘ is a short film that explores this question, sometimes cynically, sometimes dramatically, portraying the bitter taste experienced by someone whose work fails to transcend the “taste for blood” of reporters for whom art is merely a pretext. Despite its inherent irony, Joshua Blewitt’s project is not a social critique. The director remains within the parameters of a realism as “conventional” as possible, avoiding exaggeration or artificial distortion of the current context. Yet, his short film ultimately offers a corrosive deconstruction of the artistic process perverted by the various interests of public opinion. The main character is the artist themselves, the director who, in a kind of “mise en abyme” exercise, explores how the media context can compromise the value (or praise the lack of value) of a product, at a time when the creator’s intimate life becomes more important than their work.


Beyond the obvious technical qualities, what Joshua Blewitt presents in his short film is not just the drama of a character but a generalized state of affairs prevalent in our contemporary society obsessed with appearances, meta discourses, or rudimentary clichés specific to the critical discourse emitted by reporters in search of followers. It is no coincidence that his character becomes the victim of his own honesty when he realizes that his artistic vision, and therefore his human experience, seems to the public more of a passing trend than genuine authenticity. The standards imposed by consumers are trenchant, and what initially appears as an original voice in indie cinema soon becomes enslaved by the mainstream. Behind this facade lies much suffering, and Joshua Blewitt captures with disarming honesty the undeserved fate of those who, in their struggle to assert their own stories, risk losing their voice to meet others’ expectations. ‘Mean’ is not just a project created by a professional team but also one of the most daring short films showcased at our festival. It manages to illustrate with crushing accuracy the hidden reality of a world we often tend to idealize.


For its honesty, cynicism, and expressiveness in illustrating cinema’s “behind the scenes” struggle to assert itself in a superficial world, ‘Mean’ was honored with the Film of the Month distinction in the September 2023 edition of TMFF.