Film Festival & Photography Contest
Timber is a vivid depiction of the disturbing uncertainty that results from a untrustful memory. In this short film, that is what a young man feels after being hit by a tree lumbered by a woodman. He is sheltered and taken care of in the house of this older man, but he gets trapped in a confusing state of mind. He can’t even keep up a conversation with this strange company as his sentences make no sense at all.
In contrast, when the young man peeps the old woman from the doorway of her bedroom, the lighting is blindingly bright. Moreover, director Viktor Alsbjer uses this feature to frame the protagonist between two white bars, which is a creative solution for low budget projects that performs well on the screen.
Cast: Nemanja Stojanovic, Kjell Wilhelmsen
Two people, plagued with memory loss, find that they're stuck with each other in a cabin amongst the timber of a forest.
One of the strongest features of Timber is the beautiful black and white photography. Accordingly, this choice is crucial to build an enigmatic mood throughout the whole movie. Almost all the scenes take place at night and the darkness is profound and in contrast with the light that is mostly diegetic. As a result, it creates a suffocating environment, as the interior scenes seem to take place in an extremely small cabin. At the same time, the darkness surrounding the house looks like a barrier for the protagonist, who cannot flee from there.
Written & Produced by: Viktor Alsbjer
However, we must point out one sequence that seems to have a confusing montage. In the last part, when the young man leaves the kitchen, he enters the scene from the wrong side of the frame. In any case, maybe this is not an error, but intentionally misleading to increase the oddness of the situation.
The two actors of the movie, Nemanja Stojanovic and Kjell Wilhelmsen, deliver impressive performances. We really believe that the young man is completely lost, and the older one is definitely scary. In the technical aspects, cinematographer Embla Berndtsson Tordal deserves positive appraisal for the impressive tones of black and white of the movie.
Lastly, it is inevitable not to link Timber with The Lighthouse (2019), the feature film directed by Robert Eggers. After all, both are shot in black and white, and both portray two characters on the verge of losing their minds while confined in a remote and small place. Regardless of the fact that this particular movie was a reference in the creation of Timber, this is an admirable achievement for promising young director Viktor Alsbjer.
By the way, Timber is an impressive student project made by young director Viktor Alsbjer, who displays a strong mastery of the audiovisual grammar. First, for his faultless use of the raccord, not only between the characters, but also when he indicates clearly what they are looking at. For example, when the young man sees that the pictures on the wall are not the same ones he has seen before. Moreover, the director makes a consistent use of the constructive assembly, thus communicating the narrative through images - in fact, the misleading dialogues of the messed-up characters are no help to solve this puzzled plot.
Cinematography: Embla Berndtsson Tordal
Original Soundtrack: Amanda Almgren, Embla Berndtsson Tordal, Viktor Alsbjer
2021, Sweden, 15 min
Directed by: Viktor Alsbjer
Film Critic, the founder of Leitura Filmica