|Film: Krisis Country: Spain Director: Daniel Amselem Featuring: Cast includes -Octavi Pujades, Joaquin Daniel, Eric L. Goode and Blanca Fibla Duration: 15 minutes Genre: Superhero/psychological comedy Language: Spanish, Ukrainian with English subtitles Direct Vimeo viewing link: https://vimeo.com/297285589 or scroll down below for embedded link Website: http://www.krisis-shortfilm.com/en/|
? In December 2019, I stumbled on the short film, Krisis which was long listed for the 2020 Oscars (short films). I was intrigued by this quirky, darkly comedic short film – subtitled – The Galactic Drifter. The film is testament to the power of short film. In fifteen minutes, a wonderfully complex narrative unfurls. I was captivated by the story: A Jewish man, Professor Kleinman (Joaquin Daniel) is about to have his Shabbat (Sabbath meal). He is interrupted by a visit from a masked super hero, The Galactic Drifter (Octavi Pujades), who is begging for therapy. He has dispensed advice for humans, for centuries, but he is stumped by the evil and destruction in the world. After seeking assitance from the Pope and others, as a last resort, he to goes to Kleinman. [Kleinmann translates as ‘small man’ from German – but I don’t know if that was intentional]. In line with an old Jewish joke, Kleinman implores him to come back Monday. The film (Spanish, Ukrainian with English subtitles) opens with a chilling panorama of images from the National September Memorial and Museum in New York and presents a wry take on a wounded world which is teetering on the edge of despair. Even the super hero is flummoxed by the mess. It is a funny and poignant film- packed with clever writing and allusions- to philosophy, culture [super-heroes, terrific riffs off Jewish mother jokes], identity, memory and the yearning to transcend beyond the material world.
In December 2019, the film was being submitted for festivals and I wasn’t able to share the link as there was an embargo on release on the internet. I put the article on hold. Now, the film has completed the festival circuit and is available, free for viewing. In the bumph for the film, this is what was put out: “When fear and darkness surrounds the world, man needs to trust and act. Krisis is born in response to the present period, situating itself in the very near future. This short film questions the reason behind violence and hope, in short, the struggle between good and evil.” The film reverberates profoundly in line with this strange world – which we cannot fathom in the time of Covid -when the scuffle between good and evil has become heightened. It is a time that even a superhero would find challenging. We need super heroes to help us navigate through the pandemic. Enjoy this gem of a short film.
Insights into Krisis, from director, Daniel Amselem:
TheCapeRobyn: How did the film came about?
Daniel Amselem: The idea of the film came up in the summer of 2016. I thought the world was very bad and that we had to reflect on it. What I didn’t know is that the world would be much worse in the following years. Surpassing reality to my ‘apocalyptic’ vision of the future that I thought.
TheCapeRobyn: Did you initiate the project?
Daniel Amselem: Yes, it was my ‘obsession’ from the moment I thought this idea-story deserved it. First I had to find my perfect travel companions and then do everything possible to get what I had dreamed. And, finally, I am very satisfied with the result.
TheCapeRobyn: Have you made features as well as short films?
Daniel Amselem: Fine arts and cinema have been my main studies. I have made many ads, illustrations, graphic designs and short films in my last 20 years and yes, I made ONE feature film in the 2000s, but, definitely, I feel much more comfortable making short-time content.
TheCapeRobyn: Who funded this film? Not cheap to make films – and Krisis is detailed – which all costs?
Daniel Amselem: The film has been produced by Luxor Cinema, a company that primarily installs home theatre at houses. As something exceptional and because their love for cinema has led them to invest in this project. Today her CEO, Ana Álvarez, has partnered with me to develop the entire potential universe of our new superhero and his inseparable psychologist in a new Company name: Zohar Universe. And yes, making these types of short films is very expensive. You have to be a little crazy … and –blindly- believe in dreams.
TheCapeRobyn: For me, the film brings to mind, elements of Black Panther. Your film is also about referencing the early comic book creators in America – many were Jewish?
Daniel Amselem: Since I wanted the audience to believe that they were seeing a well-known hero from the beginning, I decided to copy the style of the creators of classic comics and show our hero as if he had been drawn by them in the opening titles. Many of these artists are Jews, as well as the superhero par excellence: Superman. The re-interpretation of Moses, something that has a lot to do with the origin of our particular Galactic Drifter.
TheCapeRobyn: After the recent Chanukah massacre in New York  and the rise of anti-Semitism, it’s chilling to watch your film, made in 2018. When the doctor says – “quick hide the paintings”- I had goose bumps. Comment?
Daniel Amselem: Unfortunately, history repeats and gives me that in this increasingly less reflective world, outbreaks of xenophobia will be increasingly noticeable. Our doctor feels the terrible power of anti-Semitism inside his home after undergoing superhero therapy. The superhero’s enormous power plus his feeling of violence -in his dream- brings to the doctor the terror of the old days. Things that, unfortunately, seem to come back…
TheCapeRobyn: Krisis – Una terapia superheroica – does that translate to Crisis-The Galactic Drifter?
Daniel Amselem: The title is just Krisis. The subtitle – Una terapia superheróica – it means: A super heroic therapy. And it was used, at the beginning of our trip, only for marketing purposes.
TheCapeRobyn: At the beginning of the film, there is a note that most of the graphic work in the film is from the National September Memorial and Museum in New York. These are graphics from the museum’s collection?
Daniel Amselem: When I finished the short film, many people asked me about the origins of our superhero so I decided to create a small comic that explains where it comes from and what it represents. Then I drew this comic with five episodes of four pages each. One of these episodes was titled: The Zero Zone, and it happens when the twin towers were attacked in 2001. The chapter is the trigger for depression of the superhero, and narrates the impotence of wandering to stop the tragedy. When I finished it, my screenwriter suggested sending it to the Memorial Museum since it had a part dedicated to art. So I did it. Receiving, within two days later, a call from them to ask me for the material for their collection. The four pages gathered the best graphic example of what had happened and the best reflection on the nonsense of this modern tragedy. Now this art belongs in the Museum.
TheCapeRobyn: A series in the works?
Daniel Amselem: We are now working in a series based in our main characters. It really deserves it.
TheCapeRobyn: I loved the detail in the set – the way each scene is styled – the red rotary phone, challah dekel [covering for ceremonial bread], paintings on wall etc.
Daniel Amselem: I also love that you have noticed these details. Good material is usually full of these things. The more symbols -significant, of course- can be placed in a shot, the better scene you will get.
Click here to watch Krisis- free- vimeo link supplied by Daniel Amselem, director: