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Drift (Anthony Nti & Chingiz Karibekov x Howard Shore, 2023)

NotesPart of Special Issue1: 25X250

Anthony Nti & Chingiz Karibekov’s Drift sets up a premise as small as its protagonist: a miniature training sequence in a style which takes its visual cues from the Dardenne’s always-in-motion camera. A boy is picked up from school by (presumably) his brother, who sees he’s sitting out from gym class after picking a fight. Their names are Fouad and Younes, though this information is inaccessible apart from its inclusion in the credits. The elder brother leads his sibling to a house—empty apart from a poster of Muhammad Ali. When asked whose place it is, the elder brother replies “It’s for everybody.” They set up a small area to exercise and the young boy is pushed to his limits, as he is perpetually asked to hit boxing gloves harder and harder. Howard Shore’s composition takes on a darker edge than expected from this kind of material, but still swells predictably toward a catchy melody, intensifying as the training does. When the boy, nearly in tears, has had enough, the music drops out and its seriousness is undone immediately; “I told you you shouldn’t play the tough guy at school.” It’s a good joke. In the short’s final moments they sit outside, eating wraps. The older brother asks where the younger would want to travel to if he could visit any country, and the young boy replies without hesitation “Thailand.” A final cut to an airplane seems decisive. A short film which seems to take place in a living and breathing reality of its own.