Film Review: "The Barter" (2011) - A Short by Ranadeep Sarker

The Barter (2011) - A Short Film by Ranadeep Sarker

Kolkata, India, 27 October, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio/Sparks Call tech): “The Barter” is the latest short film directed by Ranadeep Sarker (interview) that was released on 21st October, 2011. Running for a quick 3 min-52 sec without any dialogue, this film is a silent retelling of the much-used concept of social imbalance where the rich exploit the poor.

The Barter (2011) Film Poster

The film begins with a woman begging in tatters in front of a roadside stall. She is dismissively ignored by the first customer at the stall, a young guy who buys himself a packet of chips. Next a man comes to buy cigarettes and gets similarly pestered by the constant nags of the begging woman. However, after a lascivious scan for a few seconds, he sends out a subtle hint for the woman asking her to sleep with him in return of money. To this, she silently follows him, a sign that she has agreed to the proposal. Thereafter, the frame shifts to a room where the man is seen gratifying his sexual desires to the fullest. The woman, at last, is seen buying food from the same roadside stall. The last shot covers a panoramic view of the city with its multi-stories and a modern-urban skyline.

The leading cast of this film includes Neaal Chatterjee and Sunita Neogi in the role of the second man and the beggar woman respectively. Talking of the performances, Sunita tries hard to evoke the sympathy that a beggar-woman forced to sell her body for a morsel of food rouses. Neaal, though, seems relatively convincing as the upper-class victimizer. A film which is devoid of dialogues requires the strength of expression of the artistes to develop the characters and to appropriately convey the story. The cast members of "The Barter" make a valiant attempt at this difficult goal.

The camera work of Mandal B shows hard work and good planning. However, it is difficult to explain some regular, amateurish shots. The last panned shot of the city skyline is a déjà vu of innumerable similar shots that we all have seen before.

In a film of about four minutes, the bed-scene takes up almost 40 seconds without contributing to what the film-maker wants to express after the first 10 seconds - something that could have been edited to give space to more expressive scenes.

Ranadeep Sarker, who is 10 films old in terms of assisting some of the most well-known Directors in Tollywood, had made a promising start with his debut short film “The Unknown” (trailer) that was released in June this year. His latest effort to expose “the reality that thousands of people”, as he himself puts it, is a brave attempt but falls slightly short of expectations from the young film-maker.

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