Spout Mavens Disc #14, Part 3 of 13: Shorts! Volume 3 - Passing Hearts [En del av mitt hjärta] (2004)

Director: Johan Brisinger
Swedish, 0:15, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 8

There is a dam bursting about ten minutes into the short film Passing Hearts that justifies everything. It justifies a tenuously made decision. It justifies the lives of a quartet of people. It justifies the bold adventure that the main character sets out upon which serves to give this short its deliberate, steady pulse. And it also justifies each and every second that the viewer spends up to that dam-bursting moment, studying each detail of the main character's actions, every line spoken around and about him, and every understated emotion on his face and the connected thoughts that can barely be discerned behind his eyes. It justifies our search for meaning in a story in which we are placed delicately in the surroundings of one seeking his own justification.

This dam burst is not literally a dam bursting, its torrential waters filling the screen and nearly drowning the populace. But the emotional effect is nearly the same. This torrent comes instead with a shuddering gasp and hands rattling on dishes. This torrent will unlock the film for us, opening it up to our full realization, and our warm acceptance of the characters within the film. There will be no more questions, no more tilting of our heads. We will be moved, and we will understand.

Passing Hearts, the third short film on the Shorts! Volume 3 DVD collection, is a quiet and compact mystery. Not a mystery in the usual genre sense, but more a crystalline puzzle, and by crystalline, I mean that we are able to see easily into the film -- we sense where it might be going relatively early -- but still it hides its true beauty in some slyly hidden facets, all but invisible to the incautious viewer. It is a short that begs total patience and willing immersion for it to be the most effective to anyone taking on its puzzle. This patience and immersion will bring to the dedicated watcher the knowledge that they have seen a nearly perfect example of the dramatic film short.

In the end, of course, like so many mysteries, Passing Hearts will seem so simple. And it is anything but. Because this is not a mystery of hidden passageways and the murderous assistance of blunt objects. This is a mystery that inhabits the same world in which we dwell, not an invented dimension populated by a superheroic sleuth and mystified suspects. Passing Hearts is a mystery of emotions, of a boy unsure of his purpose within the circumstances that have placed him at this point in his life. Of a boy who will never find rest until he does what must be done. Of a boy who needs the release that only the eventual bursting of a tear-laden dam will bring to him.

Would that we all could find our way to this moment when we most need it.


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