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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'GUARDED ANGELS'
- Directed by Nick Sarafis -

The director Nick Sarafis tailors a dramatic seventeen minute short film, where the main theme is developed in an uncommon way, as the audience is always put in front of the unexpected, maybe one of the best features of this short drama. "Guarded Angels" tells the story of a young girl, Jane, followed during the search of her long lost sister in a city she doesn’t know, reaching to meet a range of shady people and, in the end, realizing that she got involved in a world of such circumstances that maybe she wasn’t ready for.

The idea of a girl becoming a woman is one of the most appealing themes for the audience and it was approached by many filmmakers, while the director is free to manipulate time, space and chronological events in many creative ways. Bailey Newman’s performance is absolutely remarkable as she gives much personality to this short in the way she tries to be both innocent and mature while facing the harsh situations she goes through. You can not understand what she’s thinking and you don’t know what her next step is going to be, letting you hope that maybe she’s going to be ok till the end.

The short film excels through both the unique visual style and camera movements. Ron Wrase took some clean shots supported by soft lighting, that manages to evoke a certain atmosphere, perhaps a surrealistic feel to the piece. Also, the POV shots make the audience experience the emotional perspective of each character. Another detail that caught our attention was the low-key lighting, never a natural one, mostly the low TV light that highlights the fact that she is trapped in a world where her only window is the TV glass - a nice touch that we really appreciated. Some sequences are shortly stroke by bright light or red light that enhance the sense of odd intimacy, using the filmmaking techniques in order to underline each feeling of the characters. Also, the numerous close-ups used seek to exploit the expressiveness of these non-verbal cues which are so well represented, combining technical proficiency with a wonderful artistic direction.

She is so attached to her sister that she is willing to not let her go at any cost, even if this world she got involved in is full of psychological and physical abuse. Each sequence or scene is a piece that connects one clue to another, all the way through to the end.

Nick Sarafis short it’s an interesting approach of some sensitive subjects, illustrating a woman’s itinerary towards what she thinks it’s best for her. Moreover, it is about her bound with her sister, a stage of affection taken to another level, her journey being beautifully illustrated frame by frame and always providing an extra feeling of tension, letting the audience mesmerized by the end.