Festivals

Screamfest LA: “You Wouldn’t Understand” Is a Delightful Maze of Irony

Is it necessary to fully understand Tris Harnetiaux’s short film “You Wouldn’t Understand” in order to love it? I don’t think so, but it’ll definitely leave you wanting to know more about its story.

The film starts with an elegant man (Anthony Arkin, “The Americans”) having a peaceful picnic in the middle of a beautiful meadow. There’s wine, fruit, crackers, horseradish sauce and a book at his disposal to have a lovely evening. However, the picnic is suddenly disturbed by the appearance of a stranger (Jacob A. Ware, “Boardwalk Empire”) in a white outfit looking for horseradish. And from then on, things only get weirder.

It’s a crescendo of sci-fi inspired occurrences that will leave you head-scratching but also hungering for more. This is a short film that makes you want to watch it multiple times in order to catch every little clue of the puzzle. 

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The vibe of “You Wouldn’t Understand” reminded me of “Alice in Wonderland”, and there’s a little bit of “Monty Python’s” absurdly wonderful comedy too. Everything is handsomely shot, Eleonore Oppenheim’s ominous score plays to perfection with the sense of danger and Arkin is tremendous in his role; he embraces the confusion of it all with amusing authenticity. Meanwhile, Ware is a complete weirdo, and even though his facial expression screams of distrust, he manages to be convincing through an irresistible sense of urgency.

Harnetiaux plays with time to create an endless loop of narrative explanations. But be careful: If you spend too much time trying to figure it out, you might get caught in an ironic maze of storytelling.

“You Wouldn’t Understand” had its U.S. Premiere at Screamfest LA on October 15. You can check more short recommendations here. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with our genre festival coverage.

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