Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

The Fourth Kingdom (Short)

Grade : A Year : 2017 Director : Adán Aliaga & Àlex Lora Running Time : 15min Genre : ,
Movie review score

Adan Aliaga and Alex Lora’s short documentary, “The Fourth Kingdom,” starts off looking, and sounding, like an old educational short, the type of which has been a staple for RiffTrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000 for years. We hear an old announcer’s voice talking about plastic, but the images we see are new. They are of immigrants, and mostly older people, as they work in a recycle yard, collecting bags of plastics and glass and putting them in a specific place. We hear them talk about their experiences in coming to America, why they came, and whether they plan on returning one day. We get glimpses into their minds, their thoughts and they’re hearts. What they have left behind to come to America and work, and what they’ve dealt with in their lives. We get very little in terms of typical talking heads or narration, although there is some of the latter. This is a documentary in the manner of an “Into Great Silence,” in that we are observing life rather than being told of it, and it’s a haunting piece of filmmaking. Immigration is a hot-button topic in America, and this doesn’t politicize the issue, but brings it down to a human level as we see quiet moments like religious ceremonies, personal moments like two people talking, or moments between a boss and a worker. This is an educational short, but without the theatrics that make old school ones cheesy to watch now. This is about life, and the struggles of our fellow man, and it’s not an easy thing to watch, but it is an important thing to experience.

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