Bag Man is the 2014 short film co-written and directed by brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker that’s the basis for their new feature film Kin. It stuck with me far longer than I thought, especially given its compact 15-minute runtime. Its dialogue is sparse, its visuals are familiar, and the larger story it hints at is left purposefully unclear. In the days since I first watched Bag Man in anticipation for Kin, I’ve gone back to it over and over again, each time feeling as if I’ve both come away with something new and grown less certain about what the filmmakers were trying to say. Bag Man is a slice of life about an unnamed boy (played by Judah Bellamy) from Harlem being raised by his overworked single mother (Raushanah Simmons). The pair has a dynamic the film doesn’t get into deeply on-screen, but you can glean the general gist of what their daily lives are like from the brief, one-sided conversation his mother has with him from across the apartment. She’s getting ready for work and expects him to be out of the bed already preparing to head to school. She’s worried he’ll be late again, something that’s happened in the past, but the absence of the boy’s father, a member of the military, is something weighing even heavier on them. It’s unclear whether the boy’s father has died or simply been deployed again, but there’s an atmosphere of loss within the apartment that feels as if it takes… [Read full story]
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