Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"An unrelentingly emotionally tense and harrowing experience from start to finish... one of the most accomplished short films I have seen this year."

Those going to see Magnus von Horn's Echo should be prepared, it is an unrelentingly emotionally tense and harrowing experience from start to finish. It is also one of the most accomplished short films I have seen this year.

Arek (Radomir Rospondek) and Damian (Marak Kossakowski) have committed a terrible crime. Under the watchful gaze of a psychologist (Piotr Skiba) they are forced to re-enact it. Arek must then go on to face the victim's family.

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The title is telling, since this is about the way an echo of something that happened to one person can ricochet around the lives of many. Only one person may have died in the literal sense of the word but the destruction of everyone connected to that death is complete. Bubbling beneath the surface of the sparse dialogue is a raging sea of grief, remorse, anger and fear. Malgorzata Szyzak's bleak cinematography is enough to chill you to the bone, even before the boys confront their actions, emptily considering what they have done yet unable to offer up clear explanations.

Von Horn has a confidence behind the camera, putting it to good work both in close ups and when shooting the action from a distance, so that the full depth of field is used to its best advantage. We're invited to compare the seeming insignificance of these two youngsters on a patch of waste ground with the enormity of the deed they have committed, to consider the emotional torment of the sinned against and the sinning. It could be that all the actors here are already very naturally gifted, but von Horn is also to be praised for the performances he elicits. Rospondek, in particular, glues you to his every gesture and drags you way beyond the realms of the scripting into the well of his character's anguish.

Echo has already won a clutch of awards, I have no doubt von Horn will add to this tally of accolades with his future work.

Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2010
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Two boys are forced to face up to their crime.
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Read more Echo reviews:

Andrew Robertson *****

Director: Magnus von Horn

Writer: Magnus von Horn

Starring: Radomir Rospondek, Marek Kossakowski, Piotr Skiba, Dorota Segda, Leon Charewicz, Kamila Sammler, Mariusz Siudzinski, Ewa Suchanek

Year: 2008

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: Poland


EIFF 2010

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