Wächter der Spieluhr (Germany, 0:28:00)

Directed by: Marco J. Riedl

Written by: Marco J. Riedl

Accepting life as it comes...is our decision to make!

Farmer Finn van Hagen begins a New Life and moves with his wife and his two children out to the country. He now lives on an old, idyllic farm...in the middle of nowhere...to his eyes, in a Perfect World.
One day a Stranger appears, out of the blue. He asks Finn strange questions and tries to draw a well-kept secret from his daughter Verlanda: The whereabouts of a music box, in which Finn's past lies hidden..a past, he has long forgotten...

If Finn should ever open the music box...

...he not only might lose his family forever...

...he also might bring it to cave in...the World as he knows it.

The Decision is his...

Review:

Keeper of the Past

By Alexia Amoriello.

In Keeper of the Past, the protagonist soon discovers that his reality is not what it appears to be. Similarly, the film itself is not what it seems. The plot is far from formulaic, and the story is full of twists and turns that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From the moment a mysterious stranger arrives and points out how strange Finn van Hagen’s perfect world really is, the protagonist begins to question his reality just as the film itself elicits viewers to question the nature of their own reality. It is chill inducing and haunting to watch as Finn van Hagen’s reality literally and figuratively crumbles around him. Keeper of the Past implores viewers to ask themselves: Is it better to live unknowingly in a fictional yet perfect world or is it better to face the truth and live in a painful but genuine reality?

Marco J. Riedl’s film serves as a prime example of the substantial level of artistry that both independent films and short films are capable of. Although the underlying premise has been done before, the impeccable cinematography and attention to detail enable this film to stand out considerably. Keeper of the Past is essentially a more succinct and modern version of Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 film Open Your Eyes or Cameron Crowe’s remake Vanilla Sky. However, the comparison to these films does not diminish the weight of Riedl’s film. Riedl manages to add his own flair, providing a new spin on a familiar premise. The minor details in this short film make the story feel incredibly unique and complex. Nonetheless, Keeper of the Past contains a thought-provoking and heartfelt story that never loses momentum.

Even if one were not enthralled by the film’s poignant story, Keeper of the Past is still worth watching for its visual style and effects. The film beautifully depicts the past in a dazzling style akin to Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Likewise, the film also portrays a futuristic setting in a realistic and plausible manner. The production values and consideration that went into this film are absolutely remarkable. In fact, there are big-budget Hollywood productions that have lackluster and inept effects in comparison to this short indie film.

In addition, the acting is thoroughly convincing, and even the child actors provide stellar performances. The actors manage to induce the appropriate emotions effortlessly and realistically. Every aspect of Keeper of the Past makes this a short film worth viewing. Furthermore, Keeper of the Past is so mesmerizing that Marco J. Riedl would absolutely be capable of adapting this story into a feature-length film if he desired.

Keeper of the Past demonstrates just how efficacious and impressive a short independent film can be. Not only is Riedl’s film unequivocally worth watching, it should also be deemed essential viewing for aspiring independent filmmakers. Regardless, Keeper of the Past is a must-see film for audiences of all ages and it is undoubtedly a cinematic achievement.

Keeper of the Past is an official selection of the New York City Independent Film Festival and will be shown during the festival’s run from October 12-18, 2015.