1967: IV Reïch. The Germans won the war.
Isaac (David Doukhan), a survivor of the concentration camps, is sent by Max (Vernon Dobtcheff), a Nazi officer, in the middle of the Second World War to recover a strange mechanism. But during his quest, he will be facing his worst nightmare.
Inspired by 80's adventure movies, French co-writer/director Jonathan Degrelle is back with his latest short film Transfert, a beautifully rendered film that is as engaging to listen to as it is beautiful to watch. Set in a 1967 time period where the Germans won World War II, the film centers around Max, a Nazi officer seeking redemption, who sends concentration camp survivor Isaac back into the middle of the war to recover a rather strange mechanism that may very well impact the outcome and the course of history. However, to make this happen Isaac will have to face a particularly ruthless Nazi agent.
Fueled by Kevin Queille's pulsating original score, Transfert is a dark, immersive short film that envelopes you from beginning to end and is driven to magnificent heights by co-leads David Doukhan and Vernon Dobtcheff.
Doukhan possesses a sort of resilient determination. It's a feeling that for him this is all about much more than some strange contraption - it's about unfinished business and his own sort of resolution with his past.
Alternately, Vernon Dobtcheff wisely underplays as Max, a stoic yet resigned figure whose entire body seems weighted down by his past decisions and overwhelming actions. Dobtcheff accomplishes amazing things here, often without words, and watching his story arc wind its way down is nothing short of mesmerizing cinema.
D.P. Alexandre O'Toole works wonders here in a world that seems somewhere between Tim Burton and Back to the Future, industrialized and action-packed in all the best ways. Kudos also to Gilliane Herisson for costuming and to Patrick Colpaert for set decoration that crackles with energy and excitement.
At 13 minutes, Transfert tells its story effectively and efficiently. Degrelle and co-writer Karim Cheriguene don't waste a word of dialogue yet satisfy from beginning to end.
Transfert is a joy to watch from its opening moments, spectacularly effective special effects grabbing your attention and yet functioning perfectly as part of the story rather than dominating it or overwhelming it. The film is a different sort of beast from Degrelle's last short film Orphyr, though both films provide solid proof that Degrelle is an imaginative storyteller who knows how to bring that story beautifully to life.
For more information on Transfert, visit the film's Facebook page linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic