P.O.V. No.19 - NATAN

A note on Natan and Dogma

Sydney Neter

Lars von Trier and his Dogma gang should watch out! The Swedes are coming, and judging from the short film Natan, they have already arrived. Jonas Bergergård and Jonas Holmström are two filmmakers we will undoubtedly hear more about in the near future.

The main character is Natan (played wonderfully by Tomas Christensson, awarded Best Male Actor at Message to Man International Documentary, Short and Animated Films Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia), who's a retarded guy, hired by a local Kebab place. The only thing he can do is peeling potatoes. Viggo (Rolf H. Karlsson), the tough owner, fires him, but he suddenly feels so sorry for him, that he gives in and slowly moves into Natan's own little world. While driving through the Swedish landscape, Viggo is looking to buy a puppy for Natan. They end up at a farm, where a woman (Kerstin Högstrand) charmingly offers a young dog, but Natan seems too overwhelmed by the situation and by the overjoyed dog, and runs away. When he comes to his senses he returns to the farm, where the woman invites him to stay overnight so that he'll get adjusted to loving a dog or loving her...

The dogma style of filming fits well for this type of short film, though the camera work could have been a little less documentary style. If the film were a bit longer people may have come out nauseated. Nevertheless, the 12 minutes pass by in 5 minutes; it's well edited and doesn't feel one second too long (or too short for that matter). The absence of music during the film - besides the credits - makes the film even stronger and shows that well-chosen longer silences are not just reserved for long feature films. The short never gets too emotional, thanks to the subtleness of the acting.

Since the film has strong visuals it will do well at international markets, both at film festivals (it has already won the Grand Prize in Clermont-Ferrand 2004) and at most TV channels around the world, where shorts may be needed.

to the top of the page