'Beatrice Brought Dessert'
- Directed by Lauren Young and Emma Radest -
Three old friends meet up to spend some time together, while also taking a further step in their plan to ‘better this sad planet.’ When Bradley, an immediately unlikable character, shows up to join them, their objective becomes clear: they must murder him, stealthily, but not as a team – this is a competition.
What makes this outrageous premises even better is the fact that one can’t really find any character to sympathize with – they are all unlikable or annoying in their own way. With its circular style, ‘Beatrice Brought Dessert’ shows a glimpse of an unidentified bloody body somewhere in the kitchen, only to subsequently switch to a panoramic view of a residential neighborhood. The dynamic jazzy tune which accompanies the murder scene changes to an equally cheerful orchestral piece, but is immediately pierced by a long and high-pitched scream. This is the first trick out of quite a few which Lauren Young and Emma Radest play on the audience – no horrifying discovery prompted this reaction, it is just Emilia being happy that Beatrice brought dessert. Very, very smart and funny.
Developing in largely the same manner throughout its entire duration, the short film excels through both the unique visual style and camera movements, and a whole range of elements which would initially seem contradictory and out of place. The compilation of classical pieces, including works such as Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube Waltz, is not exactly what one would expect to find in a black comedy, but the selection fits the production like a glove. Despite knowing the outcome, the audience is constantly in for a treat, whether it is a piece of dialogue which further punctuates the shared hatred for Bradley, a slickly edited transition or the promise of finding out who lands the deadly blow and how this is done.
‘Beatrice Brought Dessert’ does not really suffer from any kind of major issues. Both Brittany Baltay and David Socolar achieve amazing portrayals of Beatrice and Bradley respectively. However, while the other two are not at all bad, they are considerably less convincing. Some of the dialogues could perhaps be further refined, sound mixing could be improved, and more little details could be thrown here and there in order to spice up the action – there is plenty of potential for this.
All in all, however, its flaws are minor and never come close to outshining the allure of this exemplary production. ‘Beatrice Brought Dessert’ is smart, funny and exhibits remarkable style, making it one of the best recent entries in our festival.