Day Release: Review

Day Release (FREIGANG)

A slow-burning, medium-length film, Day Release (FREIGANG) is silently deafening, telling the story of a young single mother out on day release from prison, it reeks of melancholy as the world seemingly crumbles around our protagonist as we watch, unable to intervene. Kathi (Anna Suk) leaves the confounds of her cell only to find her 3-year old son Christopher (Christopher Legedza) being neglected by her mother, locked in a room to watch TV while his grandmother sleeps. Upon finding out, Kathi takes her son out for the day, with expectations to meet the toddler’s father.

The devastating reality of Day Release is Kathi’s inability to work any of her issues out, due to her limited time. A myriad of unsolvable problems piling upon the single mother keep manifesting, leading to a catastrophic, tear-jerking crescendo where nothing but a single obstacle is fixed, and all is still in turmoil.

This has a lot to do with actor Anna Suk’s award-winning performance as Kathi, seemingly always on the brink of breaking down, but staying resilient for the sake of her son.

Day Release is quiet. Only exploding in sound during key parts that flow throughout the film. This is true not only with sound but in regards to its visuals and camera, everything feels stationary, like a moment in time, and as the clock slowly ticks down on Kathi’s free day, we as the audience are constantly made aware that for Kathi the world will and has moved on while she is locked up. Even out of prison, we sympathise with Kathi’s social-economic crisis as she is a prisoner to her own poverty.

The grey-overtones of the film supplement the bleak theme of Day Release, the dulled colour palette seemingly representing a dreary winters day radiates the energy of the drama, purposely slow and saturated.

Though, Day Release does seemingly overstay its welcome. With a daring length of 34 minutes, its sluggish pace feels more appropriate for a feature-length film, though its plot fits perfectly within a short-film scale causing Day Release to feel like a somewhat cumbersome viewing. 

Despite this, this German indie-flick has a great amount of weight to it, a full-on assault of heartache, its a long, internal scream of a woman who has been left out in the cold.

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Alex is a massive film nerd with a soft spot for 70's film and Korean cinema. His favourites include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Warriors, Thirst and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.


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