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The Independent Critic

Bradley Silvius
Martin Faber
12 Mins.

 "Painting Pilfinger" Creates Substance by Avoiding Dialogue 

In writer/director/star Bradley Silvius's Painting Pilfinger, a forgotten hero (Silvius) lives in the shadow of existence before he has a chance encounter with a stray dog. Unable to avoid the dog's presence, he gradually comes to accept the companionship offered by the dog and forges a quietly comfortable relationship with it that leads to a weeks long effort to paint a portrait of his new friend. With hope on the horizon, this nameless man may very well find that there's a price to pay for this hope. Is it a price he can afford to pay?

Painting Pilfinger is a bit unusual of a short film, a film with no discernible dialogue that relies heavily on Silvius's physicality and the original music of Martin Faber in moving its story along, a score that captured the prize for Best Original Score at the 2015 Made-in-Michigan Film Festival. 

Based on a short story of the same name by Silvius that was a quarter finalist in the 2001 New Century Writer Awards, Painting Pilfinger is a simple yet meaningful story about a man's search for meaning and connection in a world that has forgotten him. From the brief opening scenes that create a foundation for the story to the darkly lit, glimmer of hope ending, Painting Pilfinger reminded me of the award-winning short film Change for a Dollar, a film that served as a simple reminder that one action can lead to another to another and so on. In this case, it's not so much about the forward motion of action as it is that the simplest of things can foster hope and connection.

A microcinema effort, Painting Pilfinger is proving to be a success on fest's largely known for catering to the indie, underground and microcinema scene including Hell's Half Mile, IndieFest Film Awards, Royal Starr Film Festival, and Ozark Shorts International Film Festival among others. 

In films such as Painting Pilfinger, the temptation is often to bathe the film in warmth and to have characters looking as if they're almost in an angelic halo. Fortunately, Silvius avoids this temptation and it starts with his own characterization that at one point brought to mind Nick Nolte in The Slums of Beverly Hills. It's a characterization that largely works and creates a hopeful portrait of a man potentially returning from the fringes of society. 

For more information on Painting Pilfinger, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic