'THE VISITING LAMENT'
- Directed by S.Klickner and D.Houston -
A mother lies silently on her deathbed, in a dimly lit room, drawing her last couple of breaths. Her son is kneeling nearby, praying for her salvation, crying as the dreaded moment comes closer and closer. This is merely one of the two pictures which ‘The Visiting Lament’ paints- the realist representation of the situation. Intertwined with this comes the metaphoric depiction- a gardener tends to a couple of potted plants around the room, while an aircraft marshal signals an approaching airplane.
The beauty of this short film resides in how harmoniously it blends the two illustrations, and how these reflect one another. The dark, static frame sketches a stagnant context, only disrupted by the intensifying sound of the aircraft’s engine, getting ever closer to the bedside- the inevitability of the woman’s death becomes more and more apparent with each signal from the air marshal, while the son’s helplessness only strengthens the message.
Another remarkable aspect of the film is how carefully the environment is arranged. None of the objects in the room feel out of place- everything has its carefully considered role, from the multitude of candles scattered around, to the four potted plants. These are quite distinguishable from one another: one is of a particularly striking shade of green- this might also be the result of the candles placed next to it. Two are less colourful, while the one sitting at the foot of the bed is not green, but red. The latter plant could signify the woman’s lifeline, here at its end, while the green one could represent either her much younger son’s life, still at its beginning stages, or it might be her soul, which severs its ties with organic existence and is taken away by the approaching airplane. This interpretation is also pointed at by the ‘ok’ sign which the gardener makes after a thorough inspection of the plant, which prompts a sequence of signals prepared for landing made by the air traffic controller.
‘The Visiting Lament’ is a simple yet beautiful rendition of a death scene. Its static nature works wonderfully well within the context- it evokes the features of a painting. Highly non-conventional and metaphoric, it makes clever use of its symbols to create an uneasy, haunting yet calm atmosphere, ultimately characterizing the inevitability of death.
© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest,
Images provided by Stephen Brace and Jason Hargrove,
have not been altered and are used in compliance with CC License.