Life in a new school is not easy. On the contrary, new colleagues can hide many dangerous intentions. However, ‘Soy No Soy‘ is not a typical short film about bullying or anything like that, but rather a teen-mystery about conspiracy theories. In fact, Frederik Paludan is a director smart enough to build his project on the edge of several genres that launch a series of expectations to the viewers. The result is difficult to describe, since the project has a deliberately elliptical structure wrapped in a thriller atmosphere whose stake is not, in fact, the “spectacular” action, but the sub-textual nuances of a somewhat philosophical problem. Specifically, the short film unfolds in an unpredictable manner a difficult dilemma – “who am I?” – that the director approaches from a metaphorical-absurd perspective. However, the main character’s problem doesn’t evolve following the logic of an obsession approached in an extremely realistic way; his destiny is somewhat unimportant in the general aims of the short film. Thus, what matters in this mixture of bizarre characters, secret societies, conspiracies and indiscreet glances à la Sliver, is rather the somewhat cynical attitude of the director towards an existential dilemma, but especially towards a big problem of cinema itself: the inability to capture the human essence, the subjective and the objective Truth. In other words, the director constructs a kind of meta-philosophical cinematic discourse in which he denounces the limits of the film, the artificiality of the solutions, the uselessness of a “catchy” narrative thread lacking truthful consistency and, above all, the illusion of finding a relevant answer to the real nature of the characters.


However, despite this philosophical load, the project is far from an indigestible or too elitist experience. In fact, the viewers can access several reception formulas, depending on their personal expectations. Hence, the short film signed by Frederik Paludan can be both a strange foray into high school life or a tragicomic thriller that combines feminism and occult societies in a universe as dubious as it is funny. Regardless of the personal reading of each spectator, the short film enjoys an excellent cinematic materialization, an extremely well-conducted atmosphere and an editing intelligent enough not to “close” the project with a categorical solution. ‘Soy No Soy’ is a smart short film about a dilemma we are so used to that we forget that our reality may be nothing more than an infinite succession of fictions.


For the intelligent sub-textual message and for the professionalism with which the director manipulates the dimensions of the cinematic language, ‘Soy No Soy’ was awarded with the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the August 2020 edition of TMFF.