Man and nature maintains an ambiguous relationship; both destructive and constructive. Taking his inspiration from the complex rapport between human beings and the wild, a Kochiite, J George Pottamkulam has helmed a short film, You be the Judge. The film is about an accused who is undergoing trial for poaching two wild boars.
The narration is open-ended, which is one of the unique feature of the apparently simple short film. The story takes place within a court room, that has an accused and a prosecution lawyer. Surprisingly, the judge’s seat is empty.
When the film opens, the lawyer is seen in a pugnacious mood accusing a visibly nervous accused. He claims that the person, a farmer by profession, has caused the killing of two wild boars in an inhuman way. He says that the man under indictment has no respect for law and the brazenness of his act justifies that. He requests the court to give maximum punishment to the accused charging him under The Wild Life Protection Act.
The short film takes a curious turn here as the accused agrees to all the allegations made against him, but says that he did that for defending himself only.
Now the lawyer argues that the boars were killed in a cruel manner, as explosives concealed in meat were kept as bait, and the animals were blown to smithereens.
He says that the action was deliberate as no act of defence was seen, and the photographs of the blood-stained animals are the proof.
When the farmer is given a chance to speak, he says, “I had no ulterior motive. Paying a visit to my farm land will make you understand the extent to which the animals have caused destruction to me. I have killed the animals for self-survival, or would have been forced to commit suicide along with my family.” The man adds that the authorities did nothing to safeguard his interests though he informed them. As the film ends, the viewers are asked to make the judgment.
The director reveals that he personally supports the accused, and feels that the law should not punish him. He says, “Such farmers are helpless because their crops are often destroyed by the wild animals, and that they suffer much because of that.”
But George quickly adds that the animals should be protected through law, and people who hunt them for no apparent reason should be brought to book.”
The film which was made for Rotary Film Festival is available in Youtube.