Rarely do we ever find ourselves awestruck by cinematography, silent films, or something that is able to convey a story in such an elegant and gritty manner. To achieve grittiness, people feel like they must be as vulgar and loud as possible. For elegance, they try to be as graceful, quiet, and respectful while moving in a way that is too foreign for watchers to relate to. It’s rare to expect things to be beautifully told without a few explosions in Hollywood, or to feel the emotions felt through indie films, but Gus Bendinelli aims to change all of that with his first film: The Mark.
The films opens and you see a young man sitting right beside what appears to be his friend or brother who has died suspiciously. Immediately, you’re thrown into confusion as you see him nonchalantly disregard him and proceed on his travels. It seems as if he’s looking for something, someone, anybody for answers and he’s been at it for days. Not stopping yet, he starts another day.
Upon arriving at a small gas station like setting, he encounters a man, a man with an equally puzzled look on his face, with a hand full of animal crackers. I assume the animal crackers are trying to symbolize the connection this man had to his youth and to reality. The film is placed in a post-apocalyptic world and these seemingly small things carry a heavy meaning and pointing them out just makes the very same meaning hit closer to home. We’ve all abandoned our childhood or pasts on a smaller level, but we all still hold on to those memories.
Before a deadly brawl, you see a very quick flashback of the young man’s friend who lies dead in their shack with his eyes wide open. Eyes wide open. The only way to the soul is through someone’s eyes, as they say. The fight begins, both parties begin to attack each other with one goal: protect their lives by killing the other. These types of animalistic instincts are what keeps one of them alive. You feel the pain and sorrow as one kills the other. You feel the disconnection from reality and the loss of one’s own mind through it all. You feel emotions that were once foreign, but through each of our lives have become so real.
The entire film grasps at the biblical “Mark of Cain” Cain, as you find out is the young man’s name, has been cursed to a forsaken, distant, barren land. The one whom he killed; Abel, is what pushes him to tears. Abel strikes him with a look as he can tell by the look in his eye that he’s only there to kill him and he’s not leaving until he’s done so. The entire films rotates around the idea that being in this state of being, this forgotten sense of reality, and this outlandish need for what you once had is something that we all deal with without the need for death or this greed for life, but rather something that’s within us and against us at the same time. To bring something so classic, and seemingly foreign to us all, and make it relate to our lives through silence, emotions, and heart is a true feat that only some can say they’ve done. It plays well and it relays well.
This is a short film. This film is 5 minutes long. The amazing cinematography, the distant settings, the immense and heart wrenching emotions all make it great. To tell such a gritty, dirty, yet elegant, and beautiful story in this short period of time is truly remarkable. Gus has honestly worked day in and day out to create something that was brilliant and that’s what he managed to achieve: brilliance. You can watch the video below, and you can even check out some of the posters along with it. If you’re looking for something of elegance and something that manages to have to relate to you so well, you need to watch this.