This silent short film is a wonderful example of what can be done with a simple premise and competent execution. The story centers on a toll booth operator who also has a penchant for street art. One day while heading home from work, he spies a beautiful graffiti image on the side of a building and is compelled to add his own little flourish. From there, the two anonymous-to-each-other graffiti artists converse back and forth through the image, leading to a romantic courtship.
See, a very simply story and yet the short manages to capture your imagination and emotions. As it rolls along, you want the two artists to meet and you get as caught up in the anonymous intrigue as they do. Additionally, the film does a great job of setting the two artists up beyond conventional stereotypes of what makes a street artist. Goofy toll booth operators are usually not the first image to come to mind when I think of someone spray painting a wall, and this “art from the everyman and everywoman” notion adds to the universality of the theme of connection between two people.
143 is the type of film that I could see winning awards on the film festival circuit, most likely as an audience crowd-pleaser. It manages to affect you far more than its running time would suggest. If the IMDb listing is to be trusted, the fact that this was created by a 16 year old is all the more impressive, and shows that great films can truly come from anywhere. Check it out if and when you can (I wish I could link a trailer or video, but there are currently none online).
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