On the Line (2007) “Auf der Strecke” – Reto Caffi

A department store security guard is in love with the bookstore clerk. But when he finds out she has a man, he lets his jealousy get the best of him and lets the man get killed. The man turns out to be her broker. The rest of the story is him coming to terms with his conscience while trying to comfort the grieving woman.

Why does this short work? We have the security guard who is meant to protect against criminals. We have the book store clerk. They work in the same mall. He has access to view her at all times. This is also a story about surviellance.

The space is contained. All the action happens around the mall. And of course the train. The security guard and the book store clerk take the same train home. But they don’t really have that much in common. The guard is afraid to make the first move.

When he finds out she has a man. He decides to leave him alone when he gets into a fight on the train. The guard could have easily stayed on the train and helped the man out. But because of his jealousy he decides to let the man fend for himself against some trouble making teens.

We then find out that the man dies. But the even greater shocker was that it was the clerks brother not lover. Because of the guards jealousy he does the wrong thing .. which actually could have helped him get closer to the clerk. It’s these moments of weakness that make us who we are. And he failed that challange. But this does not mean he doesn’t try to make up for it.

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