Nothing (2022): Glimpse of an untroubled existence

Dipankar Sarkar provides an insightful review on the movie Nothing (2022)

Feb 18, 2024 - 16:06
Feb 18, 2024 - 16:06
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Nothing (2022): Glimpse of an untroubled existence

The days spent in school remain etched in our hearts as a time when life seemed endless, and opportunities abounded. These carefree and playful days lay the groundwork for future endeavours and leave us with a reservoir of heartwarming nostalgia. Shahedul Islam Sifat’s short film, Nothing is an ode to such memorable days, but with a touch of surreal magic. The film takes us on a whimsical journey through the protagonist's imagination, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Sifat reminds us of the power of childhood innocence and the limitless possibilities that once filled our young minds. With a running time of around thirteen minutes, this short film serves as a beautiful reminder to cherish those blithe moments and hold onto the magic that still resides within us.

In a quaint village in Bangladesh, Tuhin (Sajjad), a spirited teenager, resides with his sister and mother amidst the picturesque charm of the countryside. He and his school friends choose an unconventional mode of transportation to school by swimming across the river, opting for this method to save money for their shared dream of purchasing lottery tickets. The usual anticipation for their teacher, Kuddus (Zaman Sabbir), is shattered one day when news of his untimely demise reaches them. Upon visiting Kuddus's home, Tuhin is taken aback to discover the teacher's lifeless form sheltered within a colossal pot—an unusual measure to protect against the threat of rain. The rest of the day is spent idling around the village with his friends.  As night falls, Tuhin experiences an otherworldly dream: Kuddus emerges from the grave, resuming his role as a mentor in the classroom. Later, Tuhin receives a scolding from his mother for inadvertently revealing a secret. The ensuing day unfolds with another surprising twist, introducing intrigue and unpredictability into his seemingly ordinary life.

Sifat's storytelling possesses a simplicity that captures the essence of the narrative. It flows with uncomplicated grace, effortlessly weaving a tale that resonates with sincerity and directness. The absence of unnecessary complexities provides the story with space to breathe and resonate on a universal level.  In one of the scenes, the characters face a challenge when they cannot smoke due to the absence of a matchstick. Undeterred by this minor setback, the friends redirect their energy into a different form of diversion and opt for a more lighthearted approach, engaging in a harmless yet thrilling game that induces dizziness. This occurrence reflects a unique childhood moment, characterized by a jolly and relaxed mindset. It's a snapshot of that magical time when problems are met with creative solutions, and the pursuit of enjoyment often takes precedence over more conventional concerns. It serves as a reminder of the whimsical charm that defines the calm spirit of growing up.

While the short film boasts numerous positive elements, it does face its fair share of glitches. However, it navigates through most of these imperfections to a significant extent.

Nothing was selected in the Short & Independent Film Section of the Dhaka International Film Festival 2024.

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