Aso is a film that examines a man attempting to stand his ground, and devolves into a mess, spouting ‘whataboutisms’ to defend his view. It’s a wonderful example of the acting being the main driver of a film rather than the story itself. It’s also the shortest film I’ve ever reviewed, clocking in at four minutes and fifty nine seconds.
There was a conscious decision to have folks be paid to be in the background of this movie. On one hand, yeah, maybe they’re just there to have some ambiance. Or, they’re there to juxtapose the man’s emotions against the still and unbothered people around him who are close enough to hear him. It’s an interesting technique to really let him shine as he explodes.
You get to feel his frustration as it rises and fumbles through argument after argument, realizing he’s lost. He digs himself deeper and deeper in until he finally resumes his smoking, away from the frame, small and alone.
The film is a wonderful example of an actor flexing his chops, really allowing his character to flow. There are no cuts, no breaks, just a steady stream of frustration. It’s the type of exercise which allows us to pinpoint how an actor will present his emotions. Which mannerisms are employed and with how much gravitas and frequency. A lot of human communication is body language, so experiencing those emotions through a body is a big element of film and acting that often goes underappreciated.
What’s also interesting is the unintrusive, yet expressive camera work. When he flails his arms, the emotion feels far more impactful when the frame is tight. It wouldn’t be as visually appealing or impactful if the camera was further back and we had a full body shot. It’s an intelligent way of having the frame remain as static as possible, while still being engaging storytelling.
Aso is worth a watch if you’ve got five minutes to watch an actor and director practice their craft. The film is available on Vimeo. The film was made in Amsterdam by Wild Meep, and you can let them know how much you liked the film on their Twitter.