Today I saw my second film from the Berlinale – once again from the Forum section: “The Weight of the Elephants” directed by Daniel Joseph Borgman.
Daniel Joseph Borgman, born in Dunedin, New Zealand studies film studies at Otago University in New Zealand and one day decides to go “overseas”. He ends up living in Copenhagen, where he graduates the Danish film school Super 16 and starts working in post-production. “The Weight of the Elephants” is his feature debut. Interestingly, being produced both by a Danish and a New Zealanders company, it is also the first unofficial feature film co-production between these two countries.
Borgman wants to make a film about isolation and dislocation, accidentally comes across the novel “Of A Boy” by Australian novelist Sonya Hartnett and gets even more inspired. Shot in rural Southland, New Zealand, “The Weight of the Elephants” tells a story about an 11-year old boy (played by the talented young actor Demos Murphy) and his intensive world full of fantasies, hope, tenderness and tears – bitter and pure as only the tears of a 11-year old boy can be.
I always fear that a film with and about kids would be either too heart-breaking (and thus manipulating the poor viewer) or just a little bit too sweet (like a Disney family-comedy). Fortunately, “The Weight of the Elephants” is neither of those. It is an honest story told with a strong feeling for the details – just like a child sees the world – full of important details.
Why the title “The Weight of the Elephants” then? In the words of the director: “because the pressure upon a kid (and upon everybody) could sometimes be that heavy”. Then on a more positive note, “sometimes you find someone who respects and cares about you, who sees some worth in you … and then life is not that bad.”
The children actors Demos Murphy and Angelina Cottrell have done an amazing job in the movie and so has the director Daniel Borgman. I personally, would be looking forward to his next project.
Here is a trailer to the film: