Harlequin (2016)

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This short film follows the day in the life of a clown who struggles to find meaning in his job and his existence. The clown puts on a veneer of joy during his performances that is clearly superficial, and meant to hide his melancholy and the emptiness he feels inside. At the start of the film, the audience is asked “What does it take to kill a clown?”. This question could easily be rephrased as “What does it take to kill the human spirit?”. We see the clown drinking by himself before a performance in order to numb himself to the darkness that plagues him. Flashes of the clown staring into space, with his make-up in disarray, and look increasingly deranged are interspersed throughout the film. This provides a visual insight into the clowns deteriorating sanity. A clown’s purpose is to make others laugh. To shield his audience from the ever growing Nihilism of the world. However, this clown has fallen victim to the darkness he shields others from, turning his job into his own existential hell. When performing in front of a crowd of two unenthusiastic onlookers, the clown finally snaps. He lashes out at them, as if to blame them for all his pain. If only they would laugh, then maybe he would have a purpose once again. This scene makes the audience question whether our sense of purpose derives from inside ourselves or the approval of society. Are we simply the reflection of how society views us? If society rejects the clown, refusing to laugh at his jokes, then can he even call himself a clown at all? Or has society successfully killed the clown?

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