Omeleto

Concerning the Bodyguard

By Kasra Farahani | Drama
An omniscient narrator questions the thoughts and loyalties of a bodyguard entrusted to protect of an important leader.

Based on the short story by Donald Barthelme — originally published in the New Yorker Magazine in 1978 — filmmaker Kasra Farahani tells the story of an anonymous bodyguard, tasked to protect the dictator of an unknown country.

Read by literary giant Salman Rushdie, the omniscient narrator explores the nuances of power and conspiracy, and the relationship between the bodyguard and the principle, showing what can happen when a bodyguard unintentionally — or intentionally — relaxes his guard.

Barthelme masterfully wrote the story indirectly — almost entirely in the form of questions, asked in the third person. Sometimes, the questions are asked from the point of view of the bodyguard, as if he’s asking it himself– other times from a narrative distance, completely removed from the events to come.

The strings of questions begin with the mundane — a burnt yellow Yves St. Laurent shirt and dull gray Citroen — and delve into his daily routine of alertness and caution.

Each question increases the escalates the events, with an occasional sentences serving as the meat of the story and a pause in the tension. For example:

“In every part of the country, in large cities and small towns, bottles of champagne have been iced, put away, reserved for a celebration, reserved for a special day. Is the bodyguard aware of this?”

The bodyguard is protecting a dictator, but all around, citizens are preparing for a large celebration, foreshadowing the coming events. The questions reveal nothing about his fears or anxieties. All we know is that the special day won’t go well for him.

As the story unfolds, we get a glimpse into the bodyguard’s thoughts:

“Seated in a restaurant with his principal, the bodyguard is served, involuntarily, turtle soup. Does he recoil, as the other eats? Why is this near-skeleton, his principal, of such importance to the world that he deserves six body-guards, two to a shift with the shifts changing every eight hours, six bodyguards of the first competence plus supplementals on occasion, two armored cars, stun grenades ready to hand under the front seat? What has he meant to the world? What are his plans?”

Why doesn’t he like turtle soup? Perhaps a sign of the gap in their social class, causing the bodyguard to question the value of the dictator’s worth.

The story comes to a head with in the car.

“In the Mercedes, the bodyguard and his colleague stare at the hundreds, men and women, young and old, who move around the Mercedes, stopped for a light, as if it were a rock in a river. In the rear seat, the patron is speaking into a telephone. He looks up, puts down the telephone. The people pressing around the car cannot be counted, there are too many of them; they cannot be known, there are too many of them; they cannot be predicted, they have volition. Then, an opening. The car accelerates.

Is it the case that, on a certain morning, the garbage cans of the entire city, the garbage cans of the entire country, are overflowing with empty champagne bottles? Which bodyguard is at fault?”

We learn the dictator is dead, and the country has had its night of celebration. Our bodyguard failed to prevent the assassination. But who’s at fault — the bodyguard or the dictator?

Maybe neither.





You Might Also Like:

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
Her husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman confronts a painful time in her life after discovering the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man, upon dying, is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle

By Devon Manney | Animation
Returning to the U.S. after losing both arms, a veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics and memories of his pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley, Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invests his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
Two brothers caught in a time loop must traverse a series of maze-like events in order to prevent a catastrophic fire from occurring.

Garfield

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.

Partners

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Balance

By Mark Ram | Drama
Two friends climb a mountain, connected by a rope. But when one falls, the other's life hangs in an unstable balance.

Spoetnik

By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man finds himself in between a food-truck and a brothel. Then, he meets his dream girl.


Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.