As David Bianchi’s short film, Break The Bars, opens, a young girl (Aramé Scott) sitting behind the supposedly protective bars of her windows at home expresses her hopes and dreams for the future. As she concludes her thoughts and the lullaby-style soundtrack wears down, spoken word poets Bianchi and Chris Wood appear to the conflicting sound of a passing train. The duo launch into their performance, juxtaposing said hopes and dreams with the harsh realities surrounding the young girl, exploring both the potential positive and negative turns her life could take as she grows up. Are those bars on her windows there to protect, or to cage?
Much like another short film that Bianchi and Wood performed in, Dark Side of the Earth, this is more in the vein of what we might traditionally expect from a music video, only with the beats and rhythms of the spoken word as the centerpiece. The visuals frenetically change up with the pace of the performance, focus coming in and out as composition choices shift. It’s editorially choreographed to perfection, with each element properly complementing the surrounding pieces to capture the strength inherent in a competently performed spoken word piece.
Which is, of course, no going to be for everyone. I know some people get turned off immediately by spoken word or slam poetry, and while a strong example of the form, I don’t think this is the performance that would change their minds. Still, it is a short film that knows to be a short film, to explore ideas and themes in an energetic way without lingering long enough to be ignored.
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