Just when you think you’ve seen enough Holocaust-related Art to last several lifetimes, along comes a piece which has you begging for more.
Porcelain Unicorn, the winning short in this year’s Tell It Your Way Parallel Lines film-making contest run by Philips Cinema, was inspired by true war stories and a Joseph Conrad novel.
In barely three minutes and using only the six set lines of dialogue permitted by the competition rules, American Keegan Wilcox manages to evoke the era’s gratuitous brutality, unexpected kindnesses and great heroism while showing how an early experience may inspire deeds at a later stage in life. Rarely have I been so moved in so short a time by a Holocaust-related film.
The story is of a Hitler Youth member befriending an Anne Frank-type character after finding her in hiding in an otherwise abandoned house. It then portrays how and and why he seeks her out many years after the war has ended.
Director Wilcox, who has had his own commercial film production company for three years, explains, “I was inspired by my grandfather and his experiences in the war. I wanted to shape that around a classic narrative structure, like the ‘hero’s journey’ from a Joseph Conrad novel. Something where our protagonist must crawl into the darkness to find the light. We all connect to that on a visceral level.”
He could not have chosen a more apt motif for Holocaust survival as the mythical horse is said to be a symbol of endurance, perseverance and wisdom.
Wilcox’s entry was chosen by the British film director, Sir Ridley Scott who added:
“I chose Porcelain Unicorn to be the winning film as it had a very strong narrative; a very complete story that was well told and executed.”