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Man Tames Machine in The Shaman

by Lambert Varias

Marco Kalantari’s short film is set in the year 2204, on an alternate Earth where two factions have been waging war for 73 years. Aside from human soldiers and war machines, both sides also employ shamans. It’s not explained fully in the film – not that any explanation would make sense – but in this world, everything – including inanimate objects – has a soul. Shamans are feared and revered because they can either destroy or convert both man and machine by negotiating with their souls. But at what cost? Watch the film to find out. It has subtitles in English, Chinese, German, Japanese and Spanish.

Overall, the film is more flash than substance. But as Short of the Week pondered in its review, “when does craft get too impressive to ignore?” The craft in question becomes even more impressive when we consider its context. In his interview with Short of the Week, Marco reveals that most of the film’s $100,000 (USD) budget came out of his own pocket. And here we are watching it for free. Marco also refuses to dwell on that number, which is massive for a (free) short film, because the effort that he and his crew put in for the past one and a half years is priceless. For instance, he had post-production staff in seven different countries working on the film.

If we gave Avatar a pass solely for its visuals, then we should praise The Shaman for what it represents. Besides, I find the concept of a hybrid hacker-priest very interesting.

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