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The Sheep Thief (1997)

| Short
A misguided orphan struggles to find a place for himself.

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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A misguided orphan struggles to find a place for himself.

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Edited into Cinema16: British Short Films (2003) See more »

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A professional and atmospheric short even if it is a little dull
10 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A young boy gets caught stealing a sheep and is shaved of all his hair and branded with a mark on his forehead so that everyone will know that he is a thief and not to be trusted. Dumped in the desert, the thief covers his marking with a headscarf and goes to the nearest village where he is taken in by a trusting family in return for his work. However, has be actually changed or is he still the same thief at heart?

Continuing my self righteous rant that short films are not only worth seeing but are a great way of seeing future talent, comes this short film that was made by Kapadia a few years before he came to everyone's attention with his critically acclaimed 'The Warrior'. This film is set in the same sort of India that that was set as well as The Detour, which Kapadia also produced recently. Here we follow a young thief in a story that is quite slow and quite unsure of itself – is he trying to start over, or look for more chances to steal? It isn't made totally clear and is quite open and helps cover the fact that it is slow – it's a bit dull at times but it is thoughtful enough to cover this.

The cast are all pretty good and seem natural enough, although I'm not sure if they were all playing themselves or if they were actors brought in. Also the lack of dialogue means that they have less to convince with – perhaps making their task a little easier. The direction is good and the film feels very professional, looking good from start to finish. It may have been a little slow and bordering on being dull at one or more point but generally it is a very atmospheric and professional short film that has a real sense of place and time – worth seeing and yet another example of how short films are always worth seeing because you never know where the makers are going to be a few years hence.


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