A young student, Dima, is bearing the responsibility of earning the money necessary to his and his father’s survival after the mother leaves them and his father suffers a hand injury making him unable to work. Dima knows he doesn’t stand up to his father’s expectations but when the opportunity arises to take part in an experiment with electro-shocks in exchange for money he needs to decide whether he will do this to save the appearances and look like he is able to meet his parent’s expectations and earn the money or if it is better to quit when he discovers his father is the one who is about to take the electro-shocks.
Elena Riabtceva’s short film ‘Take the Heat’ is a psychological game that captivates the viewer with its conflict between the hard-edged personality of the parent and the wise genuine temper of the student who doesn’t resign to his apparently futile attempts of improving the situation he finds at home.
It is memorable the dialogue between Dima questioning his father on the chair: each question becomes a personal one and equally reflects the sincerity of his father and his failure to raise his child properly.
Dima doesn’t accept to go on with the ‘torturing’ interview as a revenge on his parent. He is actually doing it to earn the money that would offer him the chance to eliminate the poverty in the house, at least temporarily. By this he actually proves that he is above his father’s expectations and that he is gifted with a stronger character than the one he actually appears to posses. The experiment takes the form of a ‘torture’ that reflects the father’s ‘sins’ and forces him to finally admit and face his own mistakes. Dima’s act is his last undertaking of the responsibility he bears for his father alone. He has done nothing with his life only to take care of his father. This is not his chance to earn money – which he eventually leaves to his father entirely – but to pay his ‘debts’, to exonerate himself from the burden of his obtuse parent and earn his freedom.
For the profound, genuine vision over the relationship between the parent and the son, Elena Riabtceva’s ‘Take the Heat’ has been awarded with the 2nd Place for Best TMFF Short Film of September 2016.