Alex, a half Korean/half Jewish acting student, is mistaken to be Chinese and hired to work the graveyard shift of a mailroom dominated by first generation Chinese men. Here, he enters an industrial world of working men dominated by rage and exhaustion. The warehouse lunchroom serves as an arena for connection and confusion. Amid several languages spoken and men old enough to be Alex's grandfather, Alex encounters a middle aged white man that sits in the back stewing in his pain-drenched rage completely ignored by the other workers. Alex tries to make sense of it all and learns to see his life outside the warehouse as surreal until it all unravels and changes the way he sees the world. Written by
This is definitely one of the most brilliant short films ever produced. If you are living in America, you will relate to every aspect of this film. Alex, who is an acting student at a college in New York, starts working a summer job in San Francisco at a stock market-based mailroom during the graveyard shift. There, he works with first generation immigrants and minorities and he learns valuable lessons about America. The film starts slowly and quietly but soon you are thrown into discussions about race, class and wealth. From the perspective of Alex, and through the co-workers sense of humor, we can glimpse their hope and despair while working at their dead end jobs. In a scene where emotions burst to the top, the film is handled simply but effectively. The impact of the film stays with us for a long time. The cinematography is superb and the soundtrack is also perfectly matched to the tone of the piece. In this rather small film, we can see director Jonathan Yi's artistic talent thoroughly. I would truly recommend you see SHIFT if you haven't seen it already.
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