In this year’s Oscars, five films were nominated for Best Live Action Short Film. While my favorite film was The Confession, I was surprised that my least favorite film, God of Love, was the winner last night. It’s not that God of Love was a bad film, but I wouldn’t say it was Oscar-worthy in comparison to the other films it went up against. It was fluffy, while the other films had so much more depth and emotion.
The Confession, for example, is an unpredictable film that raises questions about how innocent a child truly is. The film features a 9-year-old boy named Sam who is preparing for his first confession. Sam is so innocent that he can’t think of anything to confess. In an attempt to help Sam, his best friend, Jacob, comes up with an idea to steal a scarecrow from a nearby farm. A harmless prank results in a chain of events causing the death of a family and the murder of Jacob and when it finally comes time to confess his sins, Sam cannot bring himself to tell the priest what he has done.
The Confession was the first film played out of the five short films, and while I remember the mood in the theater being very light at the beginning of the film, I also remember the exact moment that the mood turned dark. It was the scene where Jacob and Sam had left the scarecrow in the middle of the road to scare the farmer and instead, he turned down a different street. The audience laughed, until a few seconds later, when another car came flying down the road, swerved to miss the scarecrow and hit a tree. We all shared a unanimous gasp.
Moments like this, when I’m so lost in a movie that I actually gasp, are when I know it’s had an impact on me. I loved it. I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. Looking over at my mom towards the end of the film, I noticed that she was crying. Afterwards, she told me how moved she was by the film. “You just don’t get that kind of emotion from commercial films these days,” she said.
The film’s director, Tanel Toom, studied filmmaking at the Tallinn University and aside from The Confession, he has directed several short films including The Second Coming, which was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2008 and won an award for Best European Short at the Archipelago International Film Festival.
After deciding to go back to school, Toom graduated from The National Film and TV School in England in 2010. The Confession was his diploma film and won the Student Academy Award for Foreign Film. This film is evidence of Toom’s passion for stories that leave an impression on his audience and it seems The Confession is only one of many influential films to come from this creative director.