- Directed by Dennis Cahlo -
The Weekend is a twenty minute short film that surprises with its honest approach and tenderly told story of a man who has just come at the end of a relationship only to find himself fall in love with another woman, a drug addict. The story unfolds with no rushed movements which is refreshing to see as it creates room for it to breathe and for us to buy into it.
The film has a slow start. The opening scene is a bit stark and the unusual choice to film it as one long shot with the protagonist fully facing the camera while the other actor standing up during the conversation is never shown doesn't come across convincingly enough. There is something missing in that scene. Perhaps the relationship between the protagonist and his friend. This very same technique is employed at the end of the film in a perfect-circle structure but we are not sure this is helping the lead actor as it creates long unnatural pauses and an incomplete feel to the scene itself. We understand that the friend is thus kept at the periphery of the story but somehow the scene feels 'out of tune' with the rest of the piece which is very traditionally shot (both people involved in a scene get close-ups or mid-shot, that is).
However, the film is pleasing to the eye and the message is clear and meaningful.
Cinematography-wise, there are some beautiful shots especially the ones filmed outdoors. The hand-held camera choice is to be admired as it adds to the sensation of loss of control and sensation of floating that both characters experience in their own stories: the break-up and the drug addiction. Amongst the themes the film beautifully treats the triumphant one is that of the Phoenix bird. Something has to end to make room for something better to occur. The past relationship and the hurt is replaced with the tenderness and serenity of a new one. As for Chloe, is the confession and lucky encounter with the protagonist what gives her strength to get over her own mental and emotional barriers? That is something the director chooses not to show explicitly. The hint to a happy ending is to be found in the changed demeanor the main character exhibits in the last scene.
There are some weak points in the script but the acting manages to counter-balance those. The performances of both actors were subdued and naturalistic which made the story come across as grounded and tender at the same time.
Our suggestion would have to be about the flow of the story which could have done with more attention. Or is it perhaps due to the absence of music through almost 90 per cent of the film? This looks like a deliberate choice since there was one scene which came with music. Was the director trying to use music in order to highlight the moment or was it the lack of dialogue that drove this choice?
We love the honesty with which the film was done. Despite the sound not being clean and the things mentioned above, we believe this is a lovely piece with a powerful message and beautiful images that touch a deep chord in our hearts. The scene in which the protagonist teaches Chloe how to ride a bike is very realistically shot and has a freshness and beauty in it that counterbalances the heavier and moody scenes. There is a measured proportion between 'sad' and 'glad' which makes this piece watchable and in the end, uplifting. We congratulate the directorial approach of not falling into a clicheistic approach and tell a story we can all empathize with.