'Parallel' has an exciting story with an even more interesting backstory. We watched it the first time without reading its statement, and it was a massive mistake from our part because the short spotlights one key element. Besides being shot in only one day, the film was written and co-starred by LA foster youth, and based in part on their real-life experiences.
The topic is relatively common in this day and age – sexual harassment in schools and how much it affects the students. As one may think, the film focuses on both sides of this problem, first when a male professor harasses a student, and then a female professor harassing one of her students. Both go through immense trauma, and that can be seen on their faces at any given moment, and both are afraid and ashamed at first to talk. But since the mind cannot be fooled so quickly, one of them finally gets the power to talk.
Interestingly, David Mahmoudieh pictured both sides of harassment in this short film, as we think they are essential to be put in balance. From one perspective, when an attractive female teacher tries to get one of her student's attention, the latter is seen as a winner, a respected alpha male who made one of the teachers fall for him. On the other hand, when the male professor puts the moves on the student, the story gets a grim perspective, and we all can realize how deeply disturbing this is. Both of the actions done by the protagonists are hugely inappropriate and by any cost, should not happen. While one of the professors got the deserved punishment, the other is free and still able to do damage. Will this situation ever change? We do not know (though we would've loved to see that happen), but we surely think it will at some point.
A great round of applause to all the people who made this movie happen, and another round of applause to those who made it look so neat and tidy. All in all, a film that not only looks great in terms of cinematography and acting, but also makes you reflect on what harassment can do to any of us.
Review written by Vlad A. G.