Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 14 minutes
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A young couple (Rania Kapetanaki and Haris Fragkoulis) in Greece, with dreams of moving to Denmark, run afoul of a domineering mother in Stratis Chatzielenoudas’ short film Die Young. Shot in black and white, the teenage couple at the core has their future set out in front of them, until Mother (Vangelio Andreadaki) catches wind, albeit vaguely, of their relationship and locks the young woman away at the most inopportune time.
The film manages to capture that “life or death” feeling that permeates almost every event of our young adult lives, presenting a scenario that any adult would approach, hopefully, with some patience. Instead, however, we have the urgency of youth coupled with a seemingly impossible to surmount obstacle, and the result is as tragic as you can imagine.
The strength to the piece is that universality of emotion, even if the actions may not be the go-to answer for most. I would’ve handled the situation differently, but I have the hindsight of someone who survived their youth (insomuch that I could be considered an adult now) and my stresses, while seemingly epic at the time, were never so daunting as I imagined. Then again, there is a cultural disconnect; I was not born and raised in Greece, and thus don’t have a firm enough grasp of the specific familial or social issues at hand. Still, I understand the universal themes and, therefore, part of me wants to reach into the screen and comfort our young heroine, a testament to the emotional connection the material makes.
Overall, Die Young, while not being what I would deem a “pleasant” film, is nevertheless a realistic-feeling one. This makes the impact of events that much stronger, even as the film presents it all with a matter-of-fact gaze. In the end, the story wraps up in a sadly pedestrian fashion in direct conflict to the emotions and events that preceded it, offering a tragic perspective.
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Posted on May 23, 2013 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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