Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sweet Hand of the White Rose (2010)

Davide Melini’s horror short, THE SWEET HAND OF THE WHITE ROSE, brings to attention the avoidable tragic loss of life from irresponsible driving habits. Alcohol, relationship problems, and cell phone distractions are the root of a tragedy that ends up feeling almost Shakespearean in nature. Normally it would be very difficult to sympathize with the lead character, Mark (Carlos Bahos), for letting such petty issues ruin two lives, but after watching him desperately pray at an altar, Mark’s gut wrenching regret for something that could’ve easily happened to anyone ends up being heartfelt. 

Despite having a sad story, the film starts off with a sexy and rockin’ start in a crowded bar with tabletop dancers and a rock band with an appealing female vocalist. The club scenario is the backdrop to the story’s setup, but it also gives Melini a chance to show some directorial diversity. The club is something that may not have been essential, but it still gives the intro a nice pizazz and is a neat contrast to the movie’s main theme. 

Eventually, the loud music decreases in volume and the sounds of chatter become more eminent as the attention is taken off the band and onto Mark, sitting alone while smoking and taking back a shot while looking troubled. Immediately it becomes apparent that his disappointed girlfriend, Mary (Leocricia Sabán), has tracked him down, and instead of explaining himself, Mark takes the more dramatic approach of walking out on his upset girlfriend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Puzzle (2008)

Succeeding in creating a good five minute film takes a creative filmmaking prowess. The premise and everything the viewer needs to know has to be made clear from the start, without any kind of drawn-out setup. Also, because every second is a significant fraction of the runtime, every second must count. With THE PUZZLE, Italian filmmaker Davide Melini makes a basic idea interesting and creates a disturbing and fascinating movie with very little run time.   

The film’s pre-credit sequence is spooky and well done; making use of creepy chants and whispers, in the vein of SUSPIRIA, before a ringing phone sets the stage for the lead character’s evening.
A mother (Cachito Noguera) quickly becomes disgruntled after receiving a call from her son (Alessandro Fornari) asking for money. Apparently she finds her son’s reasons disagreeable and highly unsettling, and so, after hanging up, she attempts to remedy her frustrations by sitting down to piece together a jigsaw puzzle that ends up holding an unpleasant surprise.
The only spoken dialogue in the film is at the beginning, with the events unfolding in a dialogue-free fashion with visuals, sounds, and SILENT HILL-esque music driving the narrative. The piano-laden montages are the most enjoyable parts for me, which are complete with rotating camera shots and brief moments of black and white. These scenes succeed in making the inclusion of piecing together this puzzle a bit more profound. It immediately starts to answer the question: How interesting can it be to watch someone put together a puzzle?