- Directed by Rautszko Panz Nikodem -
De Glace is a short film depicting the last illusion of a dying woman.
This modern atmospheric noir which features no dialogue manages to show a gripping story in only five minutes and it certainly doesn’t lack suspense. In a cool-lit locker room, an ice skater is getting ready for training. She starts “en force”, but soon suffers an accident. While calling for help, a team of hockey players enter the field and start their game ignoring her like she’s invisible, until their coach stops them. But the nightmarish vision has a twist, the coach is only a passer-by stopping to see what’s happened to an apparently frozen homeless woman.
Like in the early films of Scandinavian cinema, the imaginary and the real blend into the tragedy of an unfortunate character. The nightmare before death seems to be a short symbolic story about the protagonist’s condition: a suffering human whose dreams of success crashed, whose cries no one hears. She has become an invisible member of society and the crowd of hockey players in her dream ignore her just like any casual passer-by does. She leaves this world attended by ambulance workers, while people fuss around at evening; life around her simply goes on.
The team behind this piece of work created an eerie mood through the means lighting, camera movement, and music. The low key lighting, the depth of shots, the heavy shadows characterize the visual style of this short. The fluid cinematography and fast-paced editing induce feelings of suspense. The spine-chilling soundtrack and its coordination with image and light pulsation create a hypnotic rhythm, that keeps the viewer tense and focused. The sound design is carefully composed and it constitutes an important factor in setting and maintaining the mood. The actress gives a brief and powerful performance and her expression resembles the actors of silent cinema.
This film dramatizes an everyday tragedy and shines a light on some delicate topics, like the ignorance of social outcasts’ sufferings and the banality of death in the modern society. These themes are tackled in a brief five minutes; the creative devices used are effective and the exposed situation is meaningful enough