CULT CRITIC /FILMS OF THE MONTH
A TEST BY FELLA CEDERBAUM
MARCH 10, 2020
Directed by Fella Cederbaum / Reviewed by Adva Reichman
Imagine being able to enter a painting and stroll through it. Becoming one with the colors and feeling the paint brushes. Sensing the texture on the fabric and follow it as it develops into a three-dimensional creation. Feeling it as if it was truly there, as if you were truly there. Watching the calm sky, feeling the light breeze and sitting on top of trees. What painting would you choose and where would you go?
In her short film, ‘A TEST’, Fella Cederbaum uses various paintings to create a new world and successfully lures us into it. The viewers get to follow into another realm and wander around, seeing desert like colors, and colorful blue and purple people figures. It might sound dreamy, but the paintings actually give out a sense of eeriness, of being lost, of being uncomfortable and yet are highly intriguing. People seem misplaced, as though some are looking for an answer while others already gave up on finding it and lost themselves in despair.
As the film continues we navigate through different yet similar paintings and slowly start to learn about the new world.
But how different is that world from our own? Once you look past the picturesque surroundings, you might find you are not elsewhere at all.
Throughout the film, a human figure narrates the film’s message. The actress, who is the only one not to be painted, is wearing a costume and matches the captivating world the director created. Her wardrobe seemed to me like a mix of a clown and a bird which was the last thing I expected. At first, I wondered about that choice and whether or not it distracts me from what I am seeing, but as the short film progressed I grew to like and appreciate that choice. I realized it wasn’t about the actress, the way she looks or the way she carries herself on screen. It was about her words. And so, I listened even more intently to the rhyming poetic monologue. And as we listen to her verses, she almost becomes one with the painting.
The actress speaks about religion, Faith and endurance. About the meaning of life and looking for a real right answer. Not to be confused with our everyday fears and worries, but the real bigger answer we are lacking and spend our whole life searching for. The director reminds us of the quest we are already on, but sometimes forget. She wishes to open our eyes and show us what life is all about. So many things in life are a test, and endurance is key. But what is the answer?
What is it the meaning of life? Why are we here? What do we need to achieve? And what did we lose along the way? The figure asks the viewers more and more questions about the greater meaning of their existence.
And then she answers them for us. A lot of information is given to the viewers, and I wanted there to be more silence in between the questions, so that I too could think and process the clever and thoughtful words I just heard. I also wish the director wouldn’t have given me all the answers, so that I can ponder the questions and find some of my own answers.
I admire the creator for working hard to make a strong statement and for choosing such a relevant powerful subject. Her execution of the film was original, fresh and exciting to watch. Fella Cederbaum created a wonderful short film that was beautiful to look at and to listen to at the same time. The beautiful music escorted the poem and strengthen the sentiment the director aimed for. A TEST is a crafty piece that will keep you thinking of its core message long after you finish watching it.