Winner of Cinematography at the Sundance film festival (2015), this is a story of a young boy raised from birth to be a hitman who starts to awaken his moral compass.
Directed by Melbourne’s rising film gun Ariel Kleiman in his first feature film, Kleiman’s inspiration for the film came from a chilling article he read on child assassins in Columbia.
Gregori (Vincent Cassel) is Father, King and Chief Commander to the women and children of his commune. Training his children in various survival skills he believes are necessary for surviving in this world he truly hates, he takes control of their education, preparing them for murders and other violent events, where if successful, he rewards them with karaoke and other “gold-star” nights.
Told through the eyes of a young 11-year-old boy Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel), you sense an innocent child completely blinkered by reality. The audience sees no outside world, other than when Alexander goes on assassination missions, reflecting the magnitude of his blinkered reality.
The villain, Gregori, is not demonized. He is portrayed as both good and bad. So much of Gregori’s actions come from a place of love. His motivations are paternal. He wants to be the dad to his kids. He wants to give his kids everything he never had.
The film takes place in an unnamed, decaying compound with surreal, ethereal-like lighting. There are constant greys and grimy locations helping develop the films sense of isolation and rawness. The intimate moments between Greogri and Alexander are captured beautifully by drifting camera work, long takes, little cutting and slow pacing.
This is a tragic film where young kids are not allowed to see the world through optimistic eyes. Perhaps this film is a harrowing reminder that the souls of children are precious and easily led astray by bad people.
Don’t miss Partisan, airing Wednesday 5th October 8.30pm on World Movies.