Behold, such clown

Elias has been cheering up sick children in a hospital for many years. It’s his job, after all, one that he thoroughly enjoys doing. We don’t know how he ended up putting a red nose for work – we don’t know much about his past at all – but we can make a good impression about his skills early on. It thus comes as a surprise when Elias is told by the hospital management that a normal workday has just transformed into his last day on the job – he’s getting laid off because a younger replacement for his services has been found. Before that happens, however, he is given one last task, and an extremely difficult one at that – making a girl with terminal cancer feel better. This mission will coincide with an exploration of Elias’ past, and the mistakes he’s made over the years.

 

'Behold, Such Clown's theme highly rests on constructing and elaborating on antithetic elements. On one dimension, there’s the job that Elias does on a daily basis: bringing happiness or at least some sort of relief in a bleak and depressing environment. On the other hand, there’s Elias himself as a bringer of happiness, whereas deep down he is not exactly happy – this can be seen from the film’s poster. The numerous other key points and plot revelations adhere to this principle, and coherently add additional layers to a complex story and an even more telling character study. It’s a wonderful achievement, with all major characters taken out of their usual comfort zone and placed in difficult circumstances, where they somehow have to make due.

 

The film, which clocks in at around 25 minutes of runtime, is brilliantly directed by Danish director Jacob Pilgaard, who achieves a smooth, aesthetically pleasing and superbly paced final result. This is further improved by the wonderful acting displays of all the main characters – especially that of Elias, portrayed by Tommy Kenter. The game of contrasts and the bitter-sweetness which characterizes much of the plot is all encompassed in Elias’ personality and actions. It is a monumentally difficult task to bring a smile on the face of a child who knows that she probably will not be around for much more time. Even if the impossible is achieved, how heart-breaking would such a sight be?

 

'Behold, Such Clown' does not shy away from fully exploring its proposed subject, and paints a very vivid picture on the thin line between life and death. Redemption and forgiveness also play major roles in the plot, and all themes converge brilliantly towards the end. Each scene and piece of dialogue adds substantial emotion and significance into the mix, and everything feels handcrafted with much love by all parties involved.

 

For all these reasons, we count 'Behold, Such Clown' as a masterpiece and decided to award it with the Best Film award of the Third Season.

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