I first found Fawns while I was busy looking for something else, and it has since proved to be a lesson for me on managing my expectations. Ironically, I had impatiently been waiting for The Fourth Dimension to be released, the collection of short films from different directors curated by Harmony Korine of which Fawns is the last. The longer I waited the taller my expectations on what Korine would deliver grew to mountain heights. To my surprise, when it was released I was disappointed with most of it, until Jan Kwiecinski’s 30-minute adventure Fawns blew me away.
Produced by Vice Films and Grolsch World, Fawns is Kwiecinski’s personal interpretation of the concept of the fourth dimension, what is commonly known as the dimension of time. It may sound dense, but Fawns is not. More philosophical than anything else, Fawns is sensory, pristine, and visually arresting. Set in a small quaint village, at the brink of natural disaster, four young adults promenade through the deserted streets to see how long they can fend off their impending evacuation. Dressed like they have been up all night partying in their last days, they brazenly power through every house and private lot to ransack, steal or cause playground havoc along their way.
With characters so apathetic towards the mass exodus imposed, yet so intent on trying to find something of value before they leave, it’s hard to imagine any arch for these cruel kids, at all. But it does happen. The shocking discovery that sharply resets the last half of the film is what gives the group their meaning, immersing them in unexpected maturity, which forces them to become very responsible at a lightening speed. There is no shortage of doomsday films to occupy the screen, but none of them are like Fawns. It’s unique in its form and will always remind me that when you forget your expectations, you welcome opportunity.
Jan Kwiecinski’s newest work-in-progress, The Incident was most recently selected by the Sundance Institute for the 2013 Screenwriters Lab.