A man runs out of coal during a snow storm and decides to visit the coal-dealer to beg for some, but the coal-dealer and his wife show no understanding of the man's needs.
This short experimental film is based on the short story of Franz Kafka that goes by the same name.
The film, and the story in my opinion, is trying to explore the relationship between empathy and communication (inteligibility, understanding).
The set up is simple – a man who needs a basic mean for survival (in this case coal), shows up at the front door of a family who has the required item in abundance, but they don’t understand his needs. The literal inability to understand portrayed in the film is a representation of the real life situation where we are not able to fully comprehend someone’s problem if we never experienced it ourselves. Without comprehension there can’t be empathy.
The coal could be any other need (water, air, heat, money, which is coincidentally called coal in German slang). Indirectly the film deals with class issues as well, because there too real empathy cannot be found, as shown in the supposed response by Marie Antoinette to the breadless masses: let them eat cake.
The set design of the film tries to touch upon the idea that materialism and ownership is just an illusion, and that hapiness is in no way dependent on ownership, as we see the rich family living an equally undesirable life or even worse.
On another level the film touches the issue of the crippleness of the modern man. It is inarguably sad to see one person not helping another even though they’re able to, but is even more tragic to see that a person’s existence depends on the help of others, that the human of today is unable to survive on its own anywhere in the nature. The coal-seller and his wife are cruel and apathetic, but the bucketrider is pathetic.
I was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia. Studied electrical engineering, worked for years on various positions in the film industry, mostly in the sound department, but also editing, photographing on set, assistant director, cinematographer etc.
Did more than 20 short films (experimental, documentary, fiction, animation...)
Currently finishing a PhD at film.factory where I'm mentored by Bela Tarr and other guest lecturers he invites (Cristian Mungiu, Guy Maddin, Quay Brothers, Carlos Reygadas...).
This short film was done as a part of the workshop with Bela where my whole class had to adapt a short story by Franz Kafka.
I have two feature films in pre-production...
Director: Stefan Malešević
Scriptwriter: Stefan Malešević
Producer: Stefan Malešević
Cinematographer: Bogdan Babović
Editor: Stefan Malešević
Sound: Stefan Malešević
Music: Stefan Malešević
Art Director: Aleksandra Niemczyk
Cast: Đorđe Branković
Cast: Sunčica Fradelić
Cast: Dino Olivier
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Sound Format: Stereo
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