Leica’s Soul

by thewheatandthechaff

This new ad by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi imbues Leica’s newest camera with a soul, taking its cues from the gritty photojournalism of yesteryear. Shot in black and white, the film is narrated in German in homage to the Leica’s birthplace, from the point of view of a well-used Leica camera. I’m not entirely sure what the point of a digital camera that only shoots in black & white is in this day and age, especially when many professional photographers tend to shoot in colour and then convert to monochrome in post-production in order to capture more of the spectrum of shades and hues, but regardless, it’s a nice ad.


The camera POV and scenes capturing hidden moments between the camera’s human owners is actually very similar to the central concept of a short film I made for my media studies A-Level many years ago (I got an A* for it don’t you know), albeit with much higher production values, a far more gripping narrative, better acting and …well, better everything really.

Mine was set in the gritty underworld of South East London, and featured closeted gay criminals, drug dealing, dreadful performances from my entire cast and lots of Libertines tracks (with whom I had an unhealthy obsession with in my teens) combined with a load of camera techniques pilfered from Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (It’s not stealing. I’ve already told you: everything is a remix).

Whilst we’re on the subject of amateur shorts by student film-makers, I have to talk about R’ha (below).

Every once in a while a wunderkind director comes along who, with heaps of talent and bootstrapping, creates something with visual effects that seem to be straight out of Hollywood. The Purchase Brothers did it when they created their alien invasion short Half-Life: Escape from City 17 on a measly $500. Then came Fede Alvarez’s Panic Attack, a similarly destructive (and low budget) short in which giant robots eviscerate Montevideo. Now, 22-year-old German film student Kaleb Lechowski has attracted big-league attention with his riveting short R’ha.

The story of an alien race betrayed by its machine army in search of independence, R’ha centers on a single interrogation scene between an uprising computer and its sentient captive. Looking to break free of the limitations of their design–and carry out total elimination of their creators–the machines use a particularly nasty “motivation protocol” to extract key information from their prisoner:


As with many short films, R’ha feels like a snippet of a much larger story. Yet the details of the scene captivate in their own right, thanks in large part to Lechwoski’s absolutely stunning animation and special effects. That all this was achieved on a miniscule budget is what makes Lechowski’s achievement genuinely exciting. Given the attention from Hollywood Lechowski attracted even before the film was released (he gained representation from Scott Glassgold and Raymond Brothers at IAM Entertainment based solely on the pre-release trailer) more from the R’ha world seems likely. Lechwoski is currently fleshing out a feature-length story to pitch to studios as a feature.

So, in short, I guess you could say that the boy done good. But I still think mine was better.