The Roar (2014) – By Philip Smolen

“The Roar” is a seven minute short film from new filmmaker Monish Gangwani. It tells the story of a man who loved art, music and poetry as a boy, but as he grew was told to give up those pursuits and follow a more traditional manly career in order to focus on success and wealth. But pursuing this course leaves the man troubled, empty and confused, so he eventually decides to abandon this way of life and go back to the real loves of his life, namely art and music.

Gangwani’s short is told in an abstract and experimental style. There are beautiful images of trees and fields that are juxtaposed with stark black and white images of dancers toiling on stage in masks (hiding who they truly are?). One can almost speculate that the film is biographical in nature as Gangwani was a member of corporate America and ditched it all to become a filmmaker. He seems to be bemoaning the loss of innocence, and that by burying our childhood, we condemn ourselves to lives of misery.

The film is beautifully photographed and has a wonderful score by Andrew Joslyn, but unfortunately, I didn’t connect emotionally with it. Still, the short is daring and unusual, and if you like a non-linear movie, then check out “The Roar.” It’s well done and it touches on the universal theme of becoming who we are meant to be.

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