Sadness. That's what I was feeling when the end credits began to roll. A profound sense of sadness and maybe even a little guilt. Now, I know that I have no reason to feel guilty. Nobody presented in "White Man's Curse" has anything to do with me. The sins of generations long dead are their own. And yet... that slight pang of guilt was no less powerful. Perhaps that's a good thing. A reminder and guide for my own future actions, thoughts and in-actions. Going back to my original introduction to this write-up however, my sadness was definitely overpowering. I believe that's the point of this short film - above all else. To conjure up feelings we generally try and avoid. Peter Duncanson, who wrote this film, has found an excellent way to incite and ride these feelings. The factual truth behind the origins of that dreaded "N" word don't really matter. It's the journey the film briefly takes on that's important...
...and that's just it. Creative license as a vehicle for emotions is key. Empathy. Rage and yes, even sadness and guilt - all make for a great film so long as these emotions are legitimately happened on... because of the film itself. Writers spend their days crafting stories with the sole intention of an emotional response. To do it with history, fact or fiction makes things all the better. Especially with that horrible feeling we call guilt. When you see it onscreen, and realize that save the proverbial split hair, this is how things were... it opens the doors to the emotions you don't want. Because it was real. This stuff happened. What on earth were people thinking?
Making "White Man's Curse" even more potent? The fact this behavior still continues. Now. Today. Sometimes it may be unintentional but usually, it's fully grasped and understood. This very idea makes people like me cringe - and adds that extra little kick to this particular short film.
Director D.T. Sheridan pulls no punches. There's no soft stepping around the content presented, and no preface to warn. This is a dialog driven, graphic film. It's also handled and put together really well. The entertainment value for it's viewers is definitely present. This isn't a documentary - yet the message it whispers is documentary clear - as Peter Duncanson and Zadie Walker fit the bill with their chilling performances perfectly. Chilling in the matter-of-fact sort of way that adds credibility to their performances.
The other thing I noticed was the brilliant transition between the time periods. What a great touch! I also happened to notice the wrap-around part of the narrative, right at the start of the film. Some may miss it, but once you see it... you see it. What am I referencing? The placement and use of the "N" word at the start of the film - as one unhappy man leaves a store. It's the little things that really make a film entertaining. Right?
In the end, "White Man's Curse" does the trick. It makes you think. Well... it made me think. At the end of the day, for such a quick film, it definitely left it's mark. A solid four stars in my opinion. Well done.