The “I AM” series is a series of short films created and produced by Stephané Alexandre. Working alongside an award-winning team filled with young talent, including BAFTA and Emmy award-winner Matthew Barrett and BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Miles Ridgway, Stephané is bringing Four8 production’s inspired, inclusive creativity to the forefront. ‘I AM Pilate’ is the latest film in the series, following on from ‘I AM Joseph.’
The film’s opening scene sees us meet retired Governor Pilate (Shaun Scott) who is being interviewed in his house for his obituary by a journalist (Jazz Lintott). When asked about any career-related regrets he confesses that in one case he knowingly sent an innocent man to his death. Through his flashbacks, we meet the mysterious Alexander Newman (Kayode Akinyemi), an obvious Jesus – like character, who claims to possess true knowledge.
Within the flashbacks we see an interesting power play between a young Pilate (Jamie Kristian) and Alexander; with one claiming to have true power based on social status and occupation whilst the other claimed to have true power based on seemingly spiritual knowledge. Of course, the problem with power based on external variables like social status is that it is fleeting. This is all too evident when we witness Pilate being bathed by his carer (Letitia Hector); a man who is now a shell of his younger powerful self.
Although there were clearly some biblical parallels within the storyline; adapting the story of Pontius Pilate against a modern-day backdrop means it’s easy to imagine numerous well known historical figures who stood up to authority; from Martin Luther King Jr to Gandhi in Alexander’s place. Like Alexander many of these figures were driven by a spiritual influence and a vision of a better world; one that looked a lot different from their present reality.
Essentially, a lot of the film boils down to whether the audience views Pilate as a redeemable character or not. Even though there are a few other characters present within the film they seem to exist for the purpose of helping us find out more about Pilate so we can decide this. On the one hand, now in his later years, we see he is clearly consumed with guilt so there is an indication that he has a conscience. He is someone who is filled with pride but that hasn’t blinded him to mistakes. However, part of you does wonder if sending an innocent man to his death is an action that can ever be deemed forgivable. If you’re an audience member that thinks the latter, Pilate’s regrets are simply meaningless and do not free him from condemnation.
For a film under 12 minutes, I AM Pilate covers an impressive amount of ground over a short amount of time with key themes revolving around the nature of truth, power and authority. By the end of the film you’re left with a lot of questions; particularly due to the film’s rather open ending. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing since the film seems to have intentionally been created to provoke and provide food for thought.
What do you make of Pilate’s character? Why not watch and decide for yourself; I AM Pilate is available to watch online here.