Tales of Darkness and Human Minds – Half Light Pilgrim shows brilliance in Storytelling
“If we seek solace in the prisons of the distant past
Security in human systems we’re told will always always last
Emotions are the sail and blind faith is the mast
Without the breath of real freedom we’re getting nowhere fast.”
(History Will Teach Us Nothing)” ― Sting, Nothing Like the Sun
Director Joshua S. Bischof’s film “Half Light Pilgrim” throws light on the forgotten and dismissed beings and weaves the age old story of light and dark, fear and courage, self discovery and despair. The film is a classic tale of sin and redemption and shows how the past gets intertwined with the present.
In the movie, we meet Frank who is a catholic priest. He enlists the help of his friend Reiner to track down a long lost lover who has returned to the city with a dark secret. As a result, Frank is left taking care of one of his friend’s cases; a refugee girl who believes her life is in imminent danger. The film’s focal point is this refugee girl, Greta. From the moment we meet her, she seems to be lost in a mage of her own. Just like the Greek beast minotaur was lost in his eternal labyrinth and howled in despair, our heroine too dwells in darkness. But unlike her Greek predecessor, she rather dwells in darkness than fights to come out of it. Rather, she looks for a way of redemption, to get herself the mercy to set free and restart.
In the movie, Joshua craftily forms his characters and then creates a firm development around them. Each character, thus, ends up representing a mental state or a doubt we could potentially wonder about ourselves. Frank starts to wonder if his chosen religion tries to make him a better man. Rainer wants to know if murdering his conscience will offer him order and stability. Greta seeks repentance in order to set herself open. And the pilgrim always served as the figure that might appeal to the viewers. Through the film, the spectators are looking at themselves. Greta is the voice of both stability and redemption in the film. Her character represents this perception of freedom from guilt and sin. She repeatedly goes through a malleable internal mechanism that consumes whatever the final judgement is. Greta wonders what she will be once her progress begins, and that uncertainty stops her from accepting her own true self. She is tied to her past, and that past harms her present as well as nibbles away her future. She is an individual who is transforming into someone else in the process, but is completely helpless to the situation.
Joshua also deals with the theme of belonging and individual identity in his film. Every one of his characters go through an identity crisis and all are in a way uprooted from their reality. The characters cling to their ideals as a facade, whereas they continue questioning their purpose and validity in this modern world.
A good film not only needs a capable director, but also potent actors who would carry forward the director’s visuals and concepts. In the film, the performances were no less than a reward. Hannah Prasse, Kilian Funke, Mitchel Hooser were a few of this gem studded cast list. The actors’ flawless performances were crucial in maintaining the script’s integrity. This gave the characters intensity and substantiated the film’s desolate mood. The director earnestly tried to keep the story suspenseful, and the movements surfaced naturally. In a broad sense, performances are important in a gloomy drama. Several movie scenes would immediately come to mind, in which the entire audience responded as part of a story. As if their own stories were intertwined with the narratives.
Joshua’s background as a storyteller is cemented firmly with his desire to portray authentic stories. This movie clearly carries the very essence of his creation. The movie justifies its theme and embodies all the important features of a good suspense thriller with its dark mundane frames, and a brilliant background score.