TRIVIA: For those unaware, the DACA refers to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, an executive branch memorandum issued by the Obama administration to offer an extended time period from deportation to people brought into the States as a minor, whose presence might otherwise be considered unlawful. Started in 2012, the act was declared unconstitutional and to be phased out by the Trump administration in 2017.
What director Maria Juranic’s Dreamers does is offer an accurate closeup of a system that is meant to aid immigrants (presently about 6,70,000 depend on it) but due to its own systemic rigging does not go far. A film that could not have come at a better time considering how America is at the cusp of a new dawn, Dreamers is unusual on many levels.
For one, films that use dance to convey their central theme are not easy to pull off, not just because of the rigorous work required in choreographing or editing it, but also in ensuring that the message gets to its audience. To Juranic’s credit, Dreamers achieves more than just that in its minuscule 9:21 minutes.
Breakdance, a surprising but appropriate choice, comes across as a deliberate but befitting selection in bringing forth the film’s narrative. A young woman approaches the office with her papers. Everyone is nameless here. Everyone is voiceless. It is a very telling sign of the red tape culture that is prevalent, because everyone is simply buried under the bureaucratic administration.
Brandon Boulay’s camera gets interesting shots to capture, as the screen intercuts into open fields from the stifling interiors of an office set-up. It is fascinating how, along with the camera work, the hues of blues and reds bring forth the sense of despair and gloom to the screen—a fitting choice for a film that highlights the rootlessness felt by millions of immigrants waiting for that one stamp of approval for their promised life. Lisa Berman’s top-notch choreography sums up each step in the administrative process. We see the protagonist unsurely approach the staff and then be quickly, unwittingly, helplessly absorbed by the system. Very soon she is fighting it, resigning to it, hoping to get out of it, and unknowingly becoming it. Extra credit here goes to Paper Tiger’s composition that sticks with the narrative like glue. While Lauren Josephine and Juranic’s editing not only maintains the pace of the storyline, it is commendable how the synergy evoked through the synchronised steps builds up the frenzy, playing in tandem to the protagonist’s own emotions.
Dreamers is a recommended watch, one that is not only informative but also highly creative in its rendition of a subject that might seem far too obvious to be explored. By choosing breakdance, what Juranic, perhaps additionally achieves is giving it its due respect in the dance arena. As the young woman waits with her token number in what seems like an endless wait, another young individual approaches the counter and this time we know what the end result of that is going to be.
Dreamers comes at a time when voices need to be raised and heard. What Juranic achieves is set the podium for one such raised conversation.#ShortFilmReview: Dreamers: The system might be rigged, but you aren't. Raise your voice. Click To Tweet
Watch Dreamers Short Film Trailer
Dreamers: A Well Choreographed Screen Dance To Explain The DACA