In ‘After We Left’ a selection of five international short films explores themes of trauma, memory and history, often in the context of war and death (cheery stuff). Sometimes this takes the form of characters creating their own history, of taking control of their memories in order to live with their trauma, while other films reckon with how you can recount a trauma that isn’t your own.
In the first of these films, 3 Logical Exits, we follow Reda, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. He sits, looking straight ahead, speaking to someone behind the camera. These black and white one-on-one interviews are intercut with colour footage of his past. Unlike the interviews, Reda is always with other people in these clips. He is more lively, emotive, chatty. The titular ‘logical exits’ refer to ways out of the refugee camp: drugs, joining a faction, or emigration. “There is no return, otherwise it’ll be in a coffin,” he tells the camera. Despite the emotive themes, the film feels a little disconnected from the subject – the audience feels too far removed from Reda and his experiences. 3 Logical Exits tries to communicate someone else’s trauma from the outside, but doesn’t feel it breaks through the surface.