We check out the latest short film by Fanis Topsachalidis called Zero, which tackles the subject of mental health with a sometimes surreal approach.
Zero is a short film telling the story of a man named Kostas – an isolated soul who just seems to “exist”, struggling with the routines of life; a day-to-day cycle that he can’t seem to escape, physically or emotionally. That is until a mysterious figure arrives and the film takes on a more surreal approach.
Zero is an emotional piece that stands out for its visual flair, and I enjoyed the short film primarily for this factor. The camera floats through the world aimlessly and dreamily as Kostas himself does, and the industrial, derelict locations are juxtaposed with the clinical and cold indoors of real life, giving a truly interesting visual language, reminiscent of the surreal world and style of David Lynch.
The locations were exciting and bold, and I commend the decisions to shoot where they did. The film’s lighting was perfectly over-the-top for the story, and though the style could be a little in-your-face with its vibrancy, it was so assured that it worked perfectly.
I enjoyed the human element the film boasted throughout, and Kostas came across as emotionally frail from the moment the film begins. Establishing a human connection with a character in such a short amount of time can be difficult, so the director Fanis Topsachalidis should be commended for achieving this.
The performances were great. When the mysterious guide appears to help Kostas, the film does make a strange turn, of which I didn’t actually enjoy as much as watching Kostas shopping, at home and simply existing. Nevertheless, the surrealism was a nice metaphor for the struggles of mental help and the lack of help to be found, especially towards middle-aged men, and the film felt assured in the comments it wanted to make on this subject matter.
Zero is highly recommended for fans of visually strong, metaphorical storytelling with a human element to boot. Watch it.