OCTOBER 10 - OCTOBER 13, 2023

Review | Half Light Pilgrim

Movie : Half Light Pilgrim
Director: Joshua S Bischof


“Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours…” 
                  –  Refugee Blues, WH Auden


From the title itself one can gauge at the tale’s penchant for the peripherals. Half Light Pilgrim is a story about the dismissed, humiliated and the forgotten. Between a little light and a lot of darkness exists a group of people. People who live in constant fear of getting recognised. They are compelled to run away from themselves. It is a tale about one such individual. Someone who is lost in a labyrinthine network of gloom. Despair plays a preponderant role in the story. A constant air of gloom and terror hovers around the individual.


The impeccable performances of the actors played a major role in retaining the authenticity of the script. It added profundity to the characters and justified the bleak tone of the movie. They did enough to retain the suspense of the story and the transitions appeared organic. Performances generally play an important role in a somber drama. One would be reminded of multiple sequences from movies where even the audience were on the edge of their seats. As if their lives are at stake. 

The portrayals appeared accurate. There wasn’t an iota pretense in them. The actors appear to have lived through the anticipations, the terror and the agony. There isn’t a foot wrong. The second most significant aspect that must be mentioned about Half Light Pilgrim is the Cinematography. Such adroit use of the lens can be spotted in very movies. It is evident that a master was at work. Some of the shots would send a chill down the spine of the audience. The angles explored, the faces captured, the indifference, the fear, the violence – everything appears crystal clear on the frame thanks to the cinematography. The use of lights and the absence of it, the silhouettes, together construct the most astounding chiaroscuro on the screen. The play between light and darkness is the most fascinating aspect about the movie.

The light and the absence of it act as indicators of certain emotions felt, the impending doom, running away from the inevitable, forgetting oneself a little everyday. The atmosphere created by Joshua S Bischof is so accurate. Places where refugees seek solace are filled with trepidations of the unknown, uncertainties insinuated by darkness and an uncanny kind of shame.

The movie explores a myriad of themes. The first being that of a stranger. The director tries to deconstruct the various emotions that dominate the psyche of an unwanted stranger , the tumultuous ebbs and flows. How the stranger forgets about all her longings, left merely with the instincts to survive, to see the next day.

The themes of home and homelessness have been very dexterously explored in the movie. The protagonist like many others in the world today meander around various notions of home. However they are yet to find one which they can call their own. They are strangers everywhere. Their constant movements are a result of perpetual rejection and the subsequent fear of persecution.

The director explores the notion of identity. Something that defines an individual according to some people. However, identity is also something that sometimes defies everything human. It becomes indifferent and cold. A shard that can only cause damage. In the movie a person’s entire existence becomes fugacious for the sole reason of her identity. A person in due course of time becomes someone else.

The person becomes an ‘other’ , a ghost in the domain of mankind, to be dismissed, dismantled and dislodged at once. Someone who must be subjected to eternal suffering for her identity.

Half Light Pilgrim is a must watch drama packed with suspense. The intensity of the narrative will keep everyone at the edge of their seats ensuring that they experience a wide spectrum of emotions throughout the movie. 

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