Behind the Masque of lockdown domestic violence
Marko Roth's intimate and impressive short Masque - 19 snapshots a survivor as she attempts to escape her situation.
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Taking a small but vital moment in a young woman's life as its focus, writer/director Marko Roth's powerful new short Masque - 19 explores the devastation of domestic abuse during Covid-19 lockdown, and the courage it takes to overcome it.
Initially giving the impression of a duo taking a standard daily walk, Roth's direction, coupled with some smartly captured performances, reveals a sense of dread with creeping intensity; a look or camera move intimating something deeper as the film progresses.
With a title that refers to the code used by pharmacists during the pandemic to identify cases of domestic abuse - the victim coming into the shop and asking if they had a "masque 19", to which the attendant would reply, “I'm sorry we don’t have any in stock at the moment, but if you write down your name and address, we can get one sent out to you as soon as possible”, before sending an intervention team to the person's house - the film is given an extra sense of realism and poignancy.
“When you read the script," Roth said of the piece, "it seems like nothing more than a couple walking to a pharmacy and asking for a mask.
"The big challenge was trying to convey the psychological trauma most victims experience whilst trying to leave their partners.
"I found myself watching loads of horror movies and immersing myself in various different filmic techniques that build tension and unease, and this sense of fear emerged as the driving force behind the film.”