THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN IN THE WORLD
Directed by Alicia Duffy, UK, 2002, 6 minutes.
With her loyal dog at her side, a young girl struggles against the pains of boredom. She yawns. She stares. She lies on the ground and seems barely awake. In short (pun intended) nothing much is going on. After a series of quick glimpses into her extremely boring life, we get a longer shot of the girl riding her bike in bored circles outside the house. Her dog watches on. Finally, the girl drifts into a field of tall brown grass in pursuit of said dog and happens upon a shirtless and sweaty man who is petting her wandering pooch. "That's my dog," she tells the man, which is consequently her only line in the short. The man spots a beetle crawling beneath the strap of the girl's thin tank top and carefully removes it with his fingers, presenting it to her in his cupped hands. Enter evil mother, who stands forbiddingly in the doorway of the house. The girl runs back, leaving the most beautiful man in the world behind. The short ends with a last glimpse of the young girl hypnotised by the blue glow of the television.
With almost no dialogue and very few sounds (only a few ambient noises) this short appealed to me because of the emotion that comes from the sparseness. The initial set up is quick to deliver a series of strange camera shots-- extreme closes ups as well as shots from high above and directly below. These angles give a clear perspective of the girl's looming boredom. The lack of sounds create a frustrating silence--noise would at least provide something to listen to, but alas, this girl doesn't even have the luxury of arguing neighbors.
What's truly intriguing about the film is the sensual meeting between a girl who can't be older than 10 and a man who isn't any younger than 30. She is immediately enamored with his glistening body. It's almost a set up for a trashy romance novel, except the age difference sent chills up my spine. The situation was both sexy and completely inappropriate at the same time. Does the man feel a physical attraction to the girl? Is he a pervert? Some kind of child molester?? Probably not. He's probably just a nice guy picking a bug off of a little girl. But the scene begs to differ and every movement is soft and loving.
The Most Beautiful Man on the World represents how a film can use perspective to skew what's actually going on in the scene. A close up on a girl's shirt strap and the touch of an older man goes from helpful to sexual. The sensual nature of this film is entirely wrapped up in its direction. Had the scene been filled with music and wide camera angles, it would have represented just another boring episode in the girl's boring day.