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The Independent Critic

Max Sacker
Nikolai Kinski, Senta Dorothea Kirschner, and Mark Gisbourne
Shorts International

 "The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist" Review 
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Written and directed by German filmmaker Max Sacker, The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist is a unique and remarkably entertaining short film in which Sacker makes the most of the film's barely over three minute run time and creates a film of enduring quality.

Shot on 16mm with an estimated production budget of right around 8,000 Euros, The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist stars Nikolai Kinski (legendary actor Klaus Kinski's son) as a projectionist who finds himself falling for a celluloid starlet and gets himself embroiled in her unfolding onscreen drama.

It's astounding that Sacker manages to create convincing film noir while crossing other genres on the way to create an appealing and inviting story with the necessary broadly realized characters. From an opening shot that lovingly recreates a scene right out of Lang's Metropolis to Hollywood's technicolor era into the wonderfully realized film noir that is often attempted yet very seldom successfully realized in contemporary cinema.

It doesn't hurt Sacker to have the presence of Kinski, whose hypnotic screen presence can't help but bring to mind the magnetism his father brought to the screen over the course of the career. Kinski brings forth fleeting moments of playfulness and vulnerability that perfectly complement the film's larger than life moments, and serves notice that Hollywood should be checking out the Kinski family tree once again.

The vast majority of 3-5 minute films feel, well, like they are mere appetizers for a bigger and better film. While there's no question that The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist ends far too quickly, it is also a film that accomplishes a tremendous amount and is immensely satisfying in its current form. It is fascinating how Sacker is able to weave in elements of both contemporary and classic Hollywood, a true testament to the power of creativity and talent to overcome modest budget restrictions in creating quality cinema.

D.P. Dustin Wallrap's camera work is top notch, whether filming in noirish black-and-white or technicolor, while Zoe Keating's original music complements the film's transcendent journey across cinematic genres with ease and spirit.

The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist captured First Prize in the area of Fantasy FIlm at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, yet never garnered near the attention it deserved on the fest circuit following its German premiere in 2008. The film is available for viewing with its alternate ending above, and has now been scattered across the web at various sites that exhibit short films.