Some short films are written and filmed with absolute consideration of the medium in which they are executed. This is a relevant point, considering that not all short films correspond to this pattern, which is effective “only if it is well made”: they do not have the luxury of telling the whole story, and there are some facts that viewers should observe for themselves and their immersion in the film.
In Zahida Pirani’s Cart, a woman’s struggle is so necessary that she has become a survivor in her own world of crisis, improvisation and risk. She endures the fear. When she is in her small house, she has to take care of her sick father, who innocently lets everyone into his house. But when he is out, failure becomes enormously terrible. He sells food from his broken car to everyone on the street. She’s not alone. Your competence is important.
Nelly is a reflection of unlawful immigration and the depressive outcome that some fear when facing the American reality and the lack of opportunities. And in The Cart nothing is confirmed by drama, long dialogues or excessive expressions. Pirani decides to make something out of Nelly’s silence, darkness and constant disappointment. There is a spirit of resilience in his personality, which can by no means succeed. And if we survive, happiness is a luxury that we cannot afford. Nelly can only “win” if she enters the court with confidence and without immediate worries.
With a duration of only 15 minutes, The Cart subjects Nelly to a variety of topics that, summarized in such a short film, may seem unfair. But it is the world of the casual worker, the street vendor, who can see their world crumbling in a matter of seconds due to crime, roughness and even those they are supposed to serve and protect. His calmness is revealed only when, out of desperation, he decides to rely on another element. I won’t say what it’s about, but your surprise is part of the reason why the movie works in its conclusion.
And then comes justice. Nelly’s sacrifice pays off in a very unpleasant realization of the world she lives in. One in which the goodness lies in opportunities that are quite small. However, what the story offers at the end is not exactly a turning point for the viewer. Nelly doesn’t necessarily find the change she needs. She just loses control and something positive comes out of this loss. In the same impromptu way, he discovered that his “enemies” are not exactly that.
From the first frantic seconds, Eli Zavala’s performance is sharp enough to inform you about his current condition. She is a resource for Pirani, whose layered orientation makes it possible to popularize the story from the very beginning. Zavala tries not to overdo it, even if her character makes her overcome despair every second.
The cart tells a story. One that was born from a thousand stories of workers who have to survive a system that seems ideal, but is not at the end. The universality of some films is inevitable. In Pirani’s short film, it’s invasive.