At first blush, Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man leading a fairly simple life. By day he dutifully prays at the local synagogue and manages a busy dry cleaner. But when his wife and two young children leave town for a few days, Shmuel will step out of his simple daily life and into a more complex world lit by the night. When he misplaces his black hat along the way, Shmuel’s two lives will interconnect in a way he never expected.
Summary info for schedule – will be hidden on film page
BLACK HAT is a story about loneliness and the feeling of being trapped between two worlds. In our artistic approach we used a 4×3 aspect ratio to exploit the frame itself to express the internal claustrophobia that the main character Shmuel feels. Color and sound design are additional tools we used to contrast the muted, somber tones and quieter sounds within his home, against the more vibrant colors and sounds of the nightclub he visits. We primarily shot with a handheld camera to evoke a spontaneous feeling that this story is casually unfolding before us so that when we reach the climax, where Shmuel is forced to choose one life or the other – to accept love or to turn it away – is even more heart-wrenching. One influence was Robert Bressons seminal work Pickpocket and how he built to the moment of transcendent catharsis for Michel. Shmuel approaches a similar moment in the nightclub, only to be too overwhelmed and frightened to embrace it. For Shmuel, catharsis is yet to come. Ultimately, this is a character study of a man searching for his place in the world, and our artistic approach endeavors to use all elements of filmmaking in support of this main theme.