BLOOM

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by Jakob Carl Sauer and Nicola von Leffern

grade: 7

Bloom immediately presents itself as a hybrid film. This is due, above all, to the fact that this project was initially conceived as a music video clip, but, given the fascinating stories of the protagonists, during its realisation it slowly took on a documentary form as well.

Swift as the wind

Running. Running far away. Faster than light. And, perhaps, with a pair of roller skates on your feet. For Brian and his friends, this is the best they could wish for in life. They are, then, the protagonists of the musical documentary Bloom, directed by young Jakob Carl Sauer and Nicola von Leffern, selected as part of the Diagonale 2020 and included, following the cancellation of the festival, in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

A film, this Bloom, which immediately presents itself as a hybrid product. This is due, above all, to the fact that, initially, this was conceived as a music video clip, but that, given the fascinating stories of the protagonists, it gradually took on a documentary form during its realisation. Without, of course, forgetting the important musical aspect. And so, the song Bloom, by the Austrian band HVOB serves as a leitmotif for the entire short film.

This is a particularly interesting operation, which not only tells the story of young Brian and his friends, but also – and above all – the political situation in Uganda (where Bloom was shot), where citizens are absolutely not allowed to walk around the city with skates on their feet. Yet, Brian and his friends do not give up. And, dreaming of a better future where certain restrictions on individual freedom are no longer conceived, they speed recklessly through the streets of Kampala, faster than cars, wonderfully free and happy.

And it is this very powerful and overbearing desire for freedom that pervades the entire work. A desire for freedom that makes the protagonists true Truffaut-style heroes. Similarly, the races on skates along the streets of Kampala, which the two directors’ camera documented with fast tracking shots and a frenetic editing, are almost reminiscent of the famous run on the beach of young Antoine Doinel, after he escaped from the reformatory in which he was held. Although in Bloom – fortunately! – there is no one to look in the camera at the end of the run. But, let’s agree: this last part has already been quoted far too many times over the past decades.

In any case, at the end of the screening, what remains of Bloom is, above all, a precious document of an era – the one in which we live – and of the current situation in a land – Uganda – where certain human rights are still not acknowledged as they deserve. All this results in an honest and sincere work, overall well balanced in its hybrid form and, within which, it is perhaps HVOB’s song that almost fades into the background. But, as we know, young Brian and his group of friends are quite magnetic, to say the least, with all their energy and pulsating joie de vivre.

Original title: Bloom
Directed by: Jakob Carl Sauer, Nicola von Leffern
Country/year: Uganda, Austria / 2019
Running time: 8’
Genre: documentary, musical
Screenplay: Jakob Carl Sauer, Nicola von Leffern
Cinematography: Jakob Carl Sauer
Produced by: Nicola von Leffern, Jakob Carl Sauer

Info: the page of Bloom on the website of the Diagonale