Who is Martin Danzig? [Michael Baker, USA, 2018]
Who is Martin Danzig? is a short film produced, written and directed by Michael Baker. In the film, an old man who is retiring from the only job he’s ever known meets his much younger replacement. It’s a philosophical and, at times, quite touching tale of growing older and showing kindness to others.
The titular Martin Danzig turns out to be a sort of guardian angel for a particularly downtrodden community, or perhaps a guardian for humanity as a whole. Simon, his celestial handler, calls Martin in for retirement. As a parting gift, Martin gets to meet his replacement: a young girl named Aamani.
Both Walter Koenig as Martin and Alana Gay as Aamani give excellent performances that allow us to understand and emphasise with both characters. They also have a charming chemistry when Martin and Aamani meet and discuss the job of caring for humanity.
Baker’s script also deserves praise. The dialogue is memorable and thoughtful, “They’re in your hands now,” Martin says to his successor before departing for heaven. “See that they dress warm.” The characters, chiefly Martin and Simon, feel like they have a genuine history with each other, of which we only see a brief glimpse. The camerawork is also solid. Appropriately, for a film about heaven, there is an interesting use of sunlight, particularly in the film’s final shot.
Who is Martin Danzig? is ultimately an enjoyable fantasy film with memorable characters and plenty to say.
'Who is Martin Danzig?' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.