Perspectives director and writer Neer Shelter presents a simple but powerful moment in time in the daily life of living in Israel that has the potential to erupt into a potentially disastrous situation. Based on a true story, Perspectives is essentially about a bus ride where fear and paranoia reach a boiling point.
The film opens with a recording of a dramatic time-lapse of sunrise in Israel and then cuts to a bus stop where a young Israeli soldier (Joy Rieger), strapped with a gun, reunites with her Israeli girlfriend (Carmel Bin). Meanwhile, bus stop passengers are snapping smartphone photos, and the joyful couple are documenting their reunion.
Upon entering the bus, a radio reports an attack on an Islamic Jihad cell during a sweeping shot revealing an incinerated bus on the front page of a newspaper on a passenger’s lap while panning to others typing on their smartphones. The young, enamored girlish couple laugh and act as a spectacle garnering attention from all bus passengers until an Arabic man (Carlos Gharzuzi) steps onto the bus, places a carry-on under his seat and sits facing the girls. The soldier quickly changes her blissful mood to one of scrutiny and suspicion. Grabbing her gun, she holds it up, forcing the bus to stop and the Arabic man to disembark, where she confronts him, taking his blue prayer beads from his pocket and forcing him to reveal what’s under his jacket. He happens to have a wound.
“Upon entering the bus, a radio reports an attack on an Islamic Jihad cell during a sweeping shot revealing an incinerated bus…”
Scared but steady, the soldier returns the beads, and they return to the bus. All the while, every passenger with a smartphone is documenting the entire situation. However, the carry-on remains on the bus and is only noticed until after the bus drives away.
This short film’s well-placed details and natural actions with very specific and controlled acting in a limited space make it very powerful. Shelter places the viewer not only in the moment but part of it.
Perspectives is a well-suited title for this story, as it reveals how all antagonists exist in our modern-day society, no matter a bus, subway, elevator, park, or public place. It’s also a fresh perspective on partnerships and how a concentrated public may act. However, the most disturbing element to Perspectives is watching the passengers’ desperate need to capture and document every moment, which appears uncomfortable and intrusive. Perhaps Shelter offers an underlying meaning to the macro and micro of humanity in our tech-obsessed existence.
"…fear and paranoia reach a boiling point"