Transfert: Review – A period WWII French short film with elements of Sci-Fi, that has wonderful attention to detail convincingly transporting you to another time, yet with a disappointingly ambiguous plot, poor script development, and unclear intention.
An aging Nazi soldier has selected a Jewish prisoner from a concentration camp, to travel back in time using a time-travelling chair, in order to retrieve a device that has the power to “change the outcome of the war”. This last part was unclear to me; I couldn’t understand if the Nazi really did want to destroy the device, as he says, or utilize it.
He seems to be on some sort of path of redemption, as we see him coughing blood as he says: “being on the threshold of death makes you see things differently” (as if the prisoner would not understand that). However, his character arc is not clear. He expresses that the device, if used, could destroy everything “we” have worked to achieve… who is “we”? He and the prisoner, or he and the Nazi Party?
Perhaps he is a spy within the Nazi Party, but I just feel the script has not been thought out well enough. I don’t feel invested in the stakes because I don’t know what this device actually does, and who its’ destruction will aid.
Furthermore, the film ends on a very unclear note. I appreciate that short films do not have the time privilege to develop and intricate plot, but they should, at least, leave the audience with a message or learning. I gained nothing in this department.
I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the animation at the beginning of the film with the atmospheric sound design and menacing score. The fight choreography was also very cool and well performed. Moreover, the attention to detail in costume, prop, and set design was exceptional, particularly in that this is a period piece. I also found the special affects applied to the time machine to be very convincing.
In conclusion, Transfert is clearly of a high level of filmmaking, but is let down fundamentally by the script. Perhaps if watched in its’ original language this may not be the case, but this was my take through watching the English subtitled version. Spanish subtitles are also available.
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