Forsaken (2004) – By Cary Conley

With this follow-up to Nightshade, Antonio Galloro treats us to Jesus being tempted by Satan himself.  As Jesus is walking through a forest, he meets Satan, who extends his hand to Jesus.  But Jesus is not tempted; he closes his hand into a fist, denying Satan’s temptation.  Satan then treats Jesus—and the viewer—to visions of things to come:  World War II and the Holocaust; Cambodia and the Vietnam War; JFK being shot; violence during the Civil Rights Movement; lynchings; suicide protestors; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.; even 9/11.

As the visions of this contemporary look at evil throughout the world end, Satan smiles.  But Jesus turns the table on Satan by treating the devil to a vision of Christ on the cross, willing to die for mankind’s past sins—as well as all the sins of the future.

Filmed entirely in black-and-white—color isn’t needed to convey the powerful messages contained within this film—and with no dialogue, Galloro again shows us that he knows exactly how to manipulate the audience with images, music, and the actors’ expressions.

Although the film runs barely five-and-a-half minutes (not counting the credits), Galloro treats us to many interesting shots.  As Jesus is walking through the forest, he first encounters an albino snake, biblical symbol of evil.  As the camera focuses towards the background, we first notice Satan, garbed in black, but as white and hairless as the snake seen moments before, with eyes as black as coal.

The single sound effect is of birds chirping and is present only when Jesus is communing with nature, or perhaps his own father; the forest is silent in the presence of Satan.  After Jesus treats Satan to his own vision of the Crucifixion and Satan leaves, the forest comes alive again, the sun breaks through the clouds, and the viewer feels hope…until the last shot that shows Satan looking at us as the clouds again close over the sun.  The message is clear:  we are sinners.  Every vision Satan showed Jesus was manmade:  war; atrocities; murders; suicide; bombings.  What are we going to do about it?

Please click here to view this superb film short.