Billed as a “traumedy” HALLELUJAH is a short film premiering this week at Sundance that depicts the aftermath of a tragic loss, that is quite surprisingly filled with joy and hope.
Left to be raised by his two uncles along with his sister Lila (Mariah Pharms) after the death of their parents, a young Hallelujah (Stephen Thomas) contemplates life, living and death, forcing his uncles to do the same after a near tragic decision.
Writer/director Victor Gabriel accomplishes a lot in an approximate 13-minute timeframe, forcing the audience to empathize through several stages of the characters’ grief until at last acceptance is achieved.
It’s a beautifully shot tale filled with lush and vibrant color that adds levity to the story along with the comedic banter between uncles Chetty (Richard Nevels) and Paper (Bruce Lemon).
But it’s Thomas who steals the show as their bookworm nephew/titular character and shines brightly in this realistic reflection on street violence.
A short narrative told through both a traumatic and comedic lens, “Hallelujah” elicits feelings of rejoicing and optimism and keeps the audience engaged from beginning to end. I rate it 4 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
The film will stream on-demand January 20 through January 30 at the Sundance Film Festival. Single film ($20), Day Package ($100) and additional tickets can be purchased here, in addition to the Explorer Pass ($50) which will give all-access to several of the festival’s digital programs including shorts.
Until next thought, Thomasena