A promise can be a momentous vow when made to someone you love. It becomes a journey you strive for because the obligation holds weight. However, when that vow also effects your existence, it becomes your life’s mission. For Henry Mercer (Mitchell Mullen) in the new film Falsified, fulfilling his dying wife’s last wish means he finds the piece of his family that has been missing for 32 years.
In Spain, from the 30s to the 80s, is known the Stolen Babies generation. What started as political power over the commonwealth became a dark chapter in Spain’s history. It’s not widely studied or acknowledged within the populace, but it’s beginning to receive awareness through various forms of media coverage.
Falsified is an emotional short film that showcases only a portion of the traumatic aftermath of this poignant era in history. Directed by Stefan Fairlamb with writer-actor Ashley Tabatabai, the film addressed the first steps in healing, the reconciliation of the family that was ripped away, reconnection with a stolen child.
The short film isn’t over detailed, instead focuses on the prime element of the possible reunion and lets everything else fade away. This is noble because the foundation of reuniting and family dynamics is enough to shroud the film in melancholy. Falsified builds on the emotions present in the story, allowing the reality of the situation to create the tone of the world we are observing.
The complicated parent-child relationship is put on the stage, but it’s not hounded with the spotlight. The tension created between these two men, whether they are related or not, is organic. It plays on the built-in complicated backstory of family, allowing for a somber energy floating over the story.
This world isn’t easy to visit, which to some extent is the point, but it only heightened when you realize the trepidation behind our lead’s motivations. Its the movies that take your breath away that you can learn from the most, and this is exactly that kind of film. This isn’t supposed to be an activist film, that time has sadly passed, but it is a film that promotes awareness. History isn’t always gracious, as we have come to realize, but in the acknowledgement of the dark times means we can move forward into the light.
A lot is addressed in Falsified, but with little being said, the conversation happens within the audience. It’s about sparking a recognition for the lost generation and honoring their struggles through our respect. All this is done in about 12 minutes, which can be a lifetime on film. Two lifetimes if you take Henry and Javier Baena's (Tabatabai) experiences into consideration.
Two lifetimes that existed without each other, which could have been each other’s world. What Falsified does so well is present a story from Henry’s point of view, the search for his long lost son, but equal attention is designated to Javier, and the possible false hope of finding his true family. These are two very possible outcomes, and two very different emotions attached to them. Equal time is played to how these resolutions could affect the rest of their lives. The audience instantly understands the gravity behind the conclusion of this journey.
The most interesting part of the film is the ending. I’m not sure how I feel about the conclusion, for it leaves me wanting more. You long for a resolution for something that you can’t fix, but also feel it was used to pull the heartstrings for the bigger picture. It leaves you wanting more, but you’re not sure if you can handle more. The film is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
The film is making the festival rounds, but stay tuned because a film like this will make it’s mark soon.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Image provided by Falsified