Jacob Thomas Pilgaard's latest short film 'The Deportation of a Model Citizen' follows the story of Aida (played by Thalita Beltrâo Sørensen), a young Syrian refugee in Denmark. She is a model student and a model citizen, as presented in the film's title. Still, as it turns out, she is prone to be deported back to Syria as her foster country, Denmark, believes that her mother country is safe enough to reclaim those who fled the war. In order to do so, two police officers come to her door and offer her a ride to the airport. At first, the police officers seemed to be scary and severe, and as it looked, there was nothing they would negotiate on. But as the road to the airport got longer, their attitude changed drastically.
From the beginning, we want to congratulate Pilgaard for yet another fantastic short film! Some notable features can only be found in his movies; every time we are lucky enough to watch his work, we have tears in our soul and eyes.
Coming back to the movie, there are three essential aspects that we truly loved about this film. First is the script; Pilgaard is one of the greatest magicians in playing with a narrative and making it stand out. As a frame of reference, we can compare what he does with a story to what John Mayer does in music – he takes something that seems simple and mundane and makes it unforgettable. And this brings us to the second aspect – the real main character of the film. We know anyone watching this film will be tempted to say that Thalita Beltrâo Sørensen is the main character of the short, and they might be correct, but as we've seen in this film, Lasse, played by Joey Moe, is the rightful owner of the crown in this film, and we will explain why.
This film follows Aida's story of deportation, but the fundamental character development we see is actually in Lasse, a police officer who has an epiphany and finds the beauty that's hidden under the brick wall soul he presents in the first scene of the short.
Thirdly, this film explores the whole human psyche in depth without seeming intrusive or militant in any way, telling a story whilst teaching us an important lesson that might have gone under the radar for most of us. The news piece is that at the beginning of 2022, only two European countries considered Syria to be safe for refugees to return to, and that’s Hungary and Denmark. Even though many of us missed this whole news piece, with a film like this, we are now even more connected to what is happening in this imperfect world.
We will repeat it, even though it may sound redundant: Jacob Thomas Pilgaard did fantastic work again with 'The Deportation of a Model Citizen', proving once more that he is one of the greatest storytellers of our generation – at least when it comes to short films.
Review written by Vlad A.G