After committing a horrible crime, a man loses himself in a search for redemption. Attempting to establish his faith, he finds himself punished instead.
The title of "A Film in Tongues" tells you kinda what the hook is - it's a short film where the characters talk entirely in tongues. That's something that'd make you curious, no doubt, but I think it might take someone who is at least vaguely interested in religion to get the connection. Personally, I know as much of the bible and religions as I know about knitting. Luckily, the movie cleared that part up fairly well by opening it with the following quote:
"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. - Mark 16: 17-18"
Now there we go, that's a good way to connect the reason for the tongues AND the title. This is also what I found so interesting about the short - it's quite serious. It's not highlighting the use of tongues as something silly. The story of a man seeking redemption after killing someone truly is, if I might say it myself, of biblical proportions.
It's shot on Super-8, which is fantastic. I wouldn't say the movie required that since the style of the movie is rather plain, but it's always remarkable when it's done nowadays. I guess by being 4:3, black and white and lower in quality, it does draw a certain emotion out of you straight away, so in that sense it could help us accept the religious experience done completely in tongues. That and it feels like a student art film, so we're open-minded from the get go!
In the end though, I think "A Film in Tongues" is an interesting piece of work. This group of filmmakers have something interesting going by making religion based short films that could appeal to anyone (with an interest in low budget art films). They are not afraid to go a little further to try things and still manage to make it work. In these 16 minutes they successfully built up a tale of a lost man and got us hooked just enough for the somewhat silly and amateur approach to actually work. By no means a masterpiece, but a refreshing short film in our review database!