Rolfin Nyhus’s Hollow Pond, written by Adam Anson, narrates a tale that, for reasons, is rather common to far too many peoples, but does so in experimental form, using elements of surrealism and horror. And though it may be rough around the edges, the film can safely boast of its texturized storytelling.
It does not become apparent until it is nearing its end, but this is a film about globalisation, or to put it bluntly, modern imperialism. Set in Kenya (and shot in London), the story begins with a small scope. One boy, lost in books, chores forgotten. His two brothers, one understanding, another not. Domestic, endearing, nothing to forewarn of the death, adventure, and horror to come. But they do arrive, and soon. The brothers (played by Oneal Gakuu and Enoch Naam) leave in search of the goats that Sironka, the boy, has lost. A folktale about devils plays out in the voiceover, while low, animalistic growls flit through the soundtrack.
With no sign of the return of his brothers, Sironka (Robert Okoth) sets out to look for them. Thus begins an adventure marked by blood, gore, demons, and a chase sequence that is as un-Hollywood as it is sincerely frightening. The demons—white men—chase him through the woods, figuratively heralding the end of the way of life and horizons that he and his people are familiar with. Their dark suits a jarring, and ultimately, permanent fixture in the landscape.
The journey Sironka undertakes is the most ambitious section of the film, employing a theatrical style, more symbolic than literal. It creates quite the mood. Though alone in his endeavour, he is accompanied by and joined to his people. The threats he faces become the effects that his people contend with en-masse, and what they rescue him from. Poignantly, when his brothers finally come to join him, they are changed, just as the world around them is changed.
Largely devoid of dialogue, Hollow Pond excels in unfolding its story and the message underneath with non-verbal tools. With bold, meaningful visuals, the film makes an indelible mark on the viewer. The final moments of this 14-minute film are unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
Watch Hollow Pond Short Film Trailer
Hollow Pond: Globalisation Is A Horror Story