Written by: John Preer
Those who attended VSU Mass Media Program’s screening in the University Center Theater last Wednesday arrived with intentions to view a film entitled “No Soliciting.”
The film’s director was scheduled to attend the screening and be available for a question and answer afterwards. Dove was not able to make it so instead assistant professor Jason Brown screened a short film that he produced entitled “Miracle Boy.” The film was directed by Jake Mahath and has been shown at film festivals across the world.
The film is about a young child whose name is never revealed. Instead the neighborhood kids call him Miracle Boy. He got the name Miracle after surviving a tragic tractor accident that caused him to lose both his feet. However, surviving this ordeal is not what makes his situation particularly miraculous. The fact that doctors were able to reattach his feet is the real miracle, and as a result, the child became a spectacle.
The opening scene shows Miracle hiding from the neighborhood kids in a cornfield while they taunt him and demand that he show them his scars from surgery. The kids harass Miracle and throw his orthopedic sneakers over a power line, leaving him to walk home barefoot.
There is not a lot of dialogue throughout the movie, but there is not true need for words. A perfect example would be when one of the neighborhood kids named Lizard goes over to Miracle’s house to apologize for bullying him the previous day. The two boys sit in front of the television awkwardly enjoying a snack, neither of them saying a word. Lizard’s face has a mixture of fear and humble embarrassment that implies that he eventually apologizes, but the audience never hears the words.
The acting wasn’t great, but the majority of the actors were children and they gave the film a sort of troubled innocence that actually complimented their lack of training. The way the lines were recited made their lack of experience noticeable, but that didn’t make the words any less powerful.
One of the first notable characteristics of the film is its score. The music is very ethereal giving the whole film an ominous mood. The tranquil and placid West Virginia countryside lends a natural score to the movie.
The drone of cicadas accompanied by the occasional rustling of pigeon wings amplifies the pastoral quality that the film embodies.
The film had an over-arching, anti-bullying theme, but was underlined by another more abstract theme of accountability. Lizard is forced by his father to apologize to Miracle, but the decision to retrieve Miracle’s shoes from the power line is one he makes for himself.