Getting your voice heard in a world of ever-increasing volume can be a difficult thing. For the Dad and central character in Kristian Håskjold’s relatable short A Worthy Man, he’s not only struggling to find his place (and voice) in the world, but in his family. Isolated by his night-shift job and ignored by those around him, this a touching tale of a man grappling to come to terms with his emotions and his identity.
Inspired by Håskjold’s rural upbringing in the Danish countryside, the director noticed that the men he’d grown-up around all seemed pretty challenged when it came to expressing their emotions.
Eager to create a film that could inspire middle-aged men to talk more freely about their feelings, without feeling embarrassed or judged, Håskjold hopes his short has almost “therapeutic” qualities.
“I wanted to show that if you don’t learn how to express yourself, especially when you’re feeling bad, then you can very easily have a breakdown as it’s portrayed in the film”, he explains when discussing the aim of his film.
It’s a noble objective from the director, but whether A Worthy Man will inspire those more silent types to speak up and express theirselves is debatable. However, there’s no denying the thought-provoking power of this story.
The subtle storytelling in Håskjold’s film allows plenty of space for self-reflection. For me, whilst watching it, I wasn’t so much contemplating my own expressive nature, but more the men I had grown-up around and their effect on me.
My Granddad was a very stoic man, who rarely showed emotion (apart from anger) and my Dad I feel always struggled to express his feelings, as he’d grown-up raised by five women (1 mother, 4 older sisters) and never really knew how he should act in certain situations.
However, instead of this having a negative effect on me, I hope it instead taught me to read the emotions of others better and in turn I like to that made me a more considerate individual. In many ways, I hope this is what an audience takes away from A Worthy Man.
Though certain individuals may struggle to show their emotions, it doesn’t mean they don’t have them. If you know someone like Erik in A Worthy Man, reach out to them and ask them if they’re ok – start the dialogue they might be too hesitant to start theirselves. I know this is something I wish I’d done earlier in my life.
Since completing A Worthy Man Håskjold has moved on to focus on a number of new projects. He’s currently developing his second year project at SUPER16 Film School, working on a Danish animation show called SIMON & MARIUS and writing a short film with writer Malthe Miehe-Renard, producer Kara Durrett and DoP Lowell A. Meyer (Cinematographer of a number of S/W favs and the feature adaptions of Thunder Road and Greener Grass).