Film run-time: 15 minutes | Starring Angela Giffin, Julian Black Antelope, Brenna Sommer
Written and Directed by Satinder Kassoana, Exec. Produced by Satinder Kassoana and Julian Black Antelope, Cinematography by Philip Bowen
“Don’t Walk Among the Dead“, a 2016 short film by Satinder Kassoana, is a fable of sororal strength amidst a harsh climate of fearful speculation and substantiated horrors. In an allegorical “othering” of society, the true value of a bond is put to its ultimate test. In a post-apocalyptic world, two sisters come into the path of a lone swordsman who is convinced that one of them is not who she says she is.
As with many dystopic narratives, Kassoana’s film focuses on the remaining survivors of an apocalyptic event, one which has rendered those afflicted by its particulars unwilling hosts to disease—the curse of being undead. The topic of morality is touched on in a most relatable fashion, in its proposition of an arguably impossible selection: do you destroy who you love, when the person has become what you hate?
The use of a dog whistle, as a narrative device, is a concise conceit; its specific application is emblematic of a universal argument, that of knowledge and the price of attaining it. In choosing to know the truth of what Jasmine is, Molly has to come to terms with what follows. Pitted against a society that has ritualized slaughter as the only viable norm against chaos, the immediate consequence of Molly’s decision has modern resonance.
In the case of the real world, the “othering” witnessed in the film is as relevant to our times as it is to the film’s dangerous wasteland, in that dehumanization enables atrocities to be carried out. As fantastical as the setting of a post-apocalyptic world may be, its ethics are familiar: our humanity is dependent on love, and through love we may find just the antidote to hate, even if it carries a heavy burden.