Some films and styles of films are known to be direct and obvious warning stories about a reality that not everyone knows about. From the point of view of a critic, I try to plunge into worlds that may not be familiar to me, but are known enough to create some kind of consciousness. One of those environments in which these films are set is that of gang roughness, and gang culture. Most of the time, two hours seems to be enough to understand a system and ask a few questions about it.
Sometimes, however, the films outgrow. They reveal (without necessarily being realistic) the real problems. The short film Hallelujah is one of them. In less than fifteen minutes, the story is told from the point of view of catchy characters who are forced to live their own personal Version of hell. But what comes next? Is there really something?
In cold Hallelujah two Brothers in their Garden in Compton, CALIFORNIA. A Girl is playing. A boy in strange clothes mumbles about books and existential topics. They’re not impressed, to say the least. But then the boy decides to commit self-destruction and fails. Alarmed, they notice that the boy has a strange fascination with self-destruction and pass away. When the boy and the girl decide to leave the house, the two men pursue them. They will all come across the reason for the boy’s strange thoughts.
Victor Gabriel writes and directs Hallelujah with a goal in mind. Trying to understand the consequence of something as terrible and random as gang roughness. It’s not that he accepts roughness as something normal in the community he grew up in.
It’s that he’s trying to comment on the cynical normalization of tragedies like this. And his commentary, no matter how vivid, is also filled with a strange kind of hope that blooms in the strangest and most human places: a family born of disaster.
It’s hard not to think of John Singleton’s style for directing and Spike Lee’s work during the film’s crucial scene. A continuous recording in which the characters are intelligently established and introduced taking into account the narrative of the short film format. Disaster strikes when you least expect it (and from whom you least expect it). Facts become bases, then a subject for Hallelujah.
Regardless of what you read above, Hallelujah is not a heartbreaking short film. Of course, it’s tragic. But this is not a sad statement. It is a moving representation of unconditional love and knowledge of something that has become strangely predictable for circles where crime still reigns. It even reigns as a way of life for some.
I may have talked about it too much, but the humorous element of the films helps the viewer to understand that this is not a regular and repeated message. A voiceover throughout the film sounds like a comedy, but I can’t assure you that’s not the matter. The outstanding performances of Bruce Lemon, Richard Nevels, Stephen Laroy Thomas and Mariah Pharms are enough for the Film to stay with them for some time. All this, combined with impressive cinematography, makes the short film Hallelujah a beautiful interpretation of an idea that has not been talked about enough: Love grows like a weed in the most unnatural and unacceptable places.