RES



Key Facts

Country: 🇵🇱

Genre: Psychological Short Film

Premier Date: 5th October 2020


Production Personel

Director - Rafał Karaś & Michał Ozimek

Producer - K.O.media

DoP - Patryk Roman

Editor - Rafał Karaś

Written by - Rafał Karaś & Michał Ozimek

Composer, producer - Adam Adams 

Violin - Steven Faux 

Mixing engineer - Oli Jacobs 


Cast

Julia Samek - Lena

Agata Piątek - Luiza

Jakub Oszust  - Tadeusz

Konrad Jasiński  - Konrad 

Wojciech Augustyński - Recluse


RES 

1. (lat. rēs) a thought

2. (from lat. resurgere) rebirth

3. unfinished business

People can feel the effect of the unknown and mysterious past on their lives. Haunted by the ghosts of the past and current issues, they simply cannot carry on with their lives like they used to. Every lie is a debt to the truth that must be paid off – sooner or later…


Trailer


Film Review
Rating (out of 10🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘

When you're placed with difficult decisions in life, no matter which way you decide to go, you will always have to live with the consequences. These can be a short, sharp lesson in what not do, or they can be a prolonged painfully, sorrowful memory that haunts you. RES is an ominous and dark film that focuses on that very concept, switching between the past and present showing you the brutally real consequences of desperate decisions. Taking the idea that the truth is a debt that has to be paid is also a strong feature in the film, which reminds me of the Robert Evans quote "There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.". With these ideas in mind, they are pretty big concepts to fit into half an hour. This is a testament to Rafał Karaś and Michał Ozimek's writing skill. 

The narrative is carefully constructed and finely balanced, following the five protagonists at various points in the past and present. Whilst the overall context of the film isn't known until the end, the film is tense, dark and ominous throughout. The twists and turns of the narrative could not be predicted, which makes RES an incredibly immersive, highly realistic film, in a sense that this could happen to anyone, this very real human struggle between confronting and hiding from your past. What I found the most interesting, as part of an English audience, is the Polish that I was hearing. This was my first experience of watching a film in Polish and whilst I was reading subtitles, what I was hearing sounded colloquial and the language of the everyday Polish person. This is something I value a lot as it made the film feel like it was real events undertaken by real people, and with the harsh edge that the Polish language has it added to the tension from my perspective, as I don't believe it would have carried the same foreboding and ominous darkness if it had been spoken in English. 

With the film's screen brightness being significantly dark, it gives you this sense of this overbearing shadow hanging over the protagonists, like the memory we see Tadeusz (played by Jakub Oszust) trying to escape from. As a tone setter it is perfect for what the story is aiming to accomplish, from the beginning I felt tense and intrigued. I wanted to know what happened but with a fear that I might not like what I found. Leading up to the film's climactic plot twist, this weight seems to follow you around throughout the whole run time, which is equally captivating yet worrying at the same time. With this in mind, RES triggers complex emotions that you don't really know how to explain, delving into the human psychology and putting under a microscope the feelings of; regret, remorse, grief and anger to name a few. Even with the religious link given to us through Tadeusz, you definitely feel like God cannot save you from your past. There are so many subtle nuances throughout the film that you can't fully comprehend until you've watched it through a few times, and this ability to make you come back for more is phenomenal for a film let alone a short film. 

Overall, the film was an exciting, intriguing and rewarding experience for me. Whilst I've had to watch it a couple of times to really grasp what is going on, the depth and darkness captivated my imagination. The fact that the story is so immersive and believable brings you into this very human struggle of confronting your past as well as hiding from it, as I have mentioned previously. The message that I take from the film is that brutal truth is something that we will all have to confront at some point in our lives, and whilst the actual truth is a constant, people's memories serve their owners. Learning to decipher what is true and what is not is a difficult challenge at the best of times, but when there is unfinished business involved, there is no telling how far you have to go to find answers. 

Soundtrack Review
Release Date: 25th October 2020
Favourite Track(s); Intro (ft. Steven Faux), The Only Way

One defining feature for me for RES is the soundtrack. I was presented with RES by my good friend Adam Adams (who has previously mixed some Vanaheimr songs, 2019's From The Darkness They Came). Adam is a Polish composer and songwriter based in Bristol and has a knack for creating exciting and interesting soundscapes through sound design and orchestral composition. RES is an example of both these skills combined. As  big fan of Adam's work, I feel very privileged and honoured to listen to the soundtrack  and to be able to watch the film. 

Musically, there is a contemporary classical and traditional romantic feel to the music. This is established in the Intro track, which features a melancholic but ominous violin performance by Steven Faux. With various nuances of the Eastern European musical tradition in instrumentation and melodies, it reminds me of various passages from Martin Phipps's soundtrack for the BBC's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War & Peace. However, this almost comfortable music is drastically changed as the tension in the film start's to increase. With more synthetic droning elements accompanied by floating piano passages and tense strings, which are all pinned down by the steady doom bringing beat of a heavy drum, the audience becomes as uncomfortable as the characters with the dark reality that is due to unfold. The soundscape that is created is dark and tense, which nuances that coincide by the visuals provided by the film. 

Throughout the soundtrack Adam builds nuance and tension with storytelling in mind. Adam stated on his blog;

"All that connects and intertwines into a score that has some orchestral elements but relies heavily on the sound design and granular, organic synthesizers. Like mentioned before, the melodies and themes were very important, so they carry on most of the narrative power within the music. The synths can sound a bit overwhelming, and that was their role all along – they represent a very gloomy and opaque situation the characters got themselves in. It constantly tramsforms and consumes the characters, like the stress and the emotions they might feel at any given time. Even if not consciously, it still lingers in the back of their head." (Adam Adams, 2020)

One thing that I really enjoyed about the soundtrack is how distinctly unique but so directly intertwined each character's theme was. This is crucial for a film narrative to be effective and because the film is focused around such deep topics, the way Adam has put the pieces together to link the characters is phenomenal. It enhanced every part of the story, immersing me fully into this tumultuous situation that the characters found themselves in. This is magnified in the final track The Only Way. Everything comes together in one, final climactic moment but the journey to get there is uncomfortable and anxiety inducing in the best way possible. The Only Way takes you on that last painstaking part of the journey, pushing you outside your comfort zone and learning what the truth is. 

Overall, Adam has made a creative and precise soundtrack to accompany such a dark and thought provoking film, the music helps the audience engage with the journey in all its brutal realism. Honing in on each characters strengths, weaknesses and vulnerability. Establishing a strong emotional connection to the characters involved. The phenomenal use of sound design to accentuate the classical music pieces creates an atmosphere that puts you at the heart of the tension and is something to be admired. Even listening to the music on it's own the imagery of the film is conjured up alongside images and emotions provided by my own imagination. With a mix that augments the songs and brings out every individual detail, this is a soundtrack style that I want to see more of and I can't wait to see what Adam's compositional talents appear on next!

The soundtrack will be released on 25th October 2020, but Fjordhammer has a track exclusive that you can hear here and here only! The Only Way is the final and climactic track in the film and as mentioned earlier, takes you outside your comfort zone to confront the truth. You can pre-order the album over on Adam's Bandcamp

Adam Adams - The Only Way


References 

Adams, A., (2020), RES – BEHIND THE SCOREhttps://adam-adams.com/bts/2020/10/03/res-behind-the-score.html

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