Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Leave Me Hanging

Don’t Leave Me Hanging
Director: Simon Gibney
Script, Producer: Paddy Courtney


Don't Leave Me Hanging from Virtual Cinema on Vimeo.


I found this short film, Don’t Leave Me Hanging, on the Irish Film Board’s website in their virtual cinema section. I decided to write about it because this film stood out the most. The other films were funny or cute but this one had a strong message attached to it and the production quality helped to enhance this message.
Don’t Leave Me Hanging was made in part with an organization called Aware. This is a voluntary organization in Ireland which provides support for people battling depression. The video is focused on raising awareness for this issue. It sends a message to people who are not suffering from depression to be aware of others and literally not to leave them hanging.
In the film a young boy, Gary, walks home from school. It is obvious that he does not have very many friends and when he arrives at home his mother ignores him while she is cooking. The film would switch perspectives going from an “outsider” to Gary’s view. When this would happen there is an obvious switch in styles. The colors become less saturated and the vision less steady. The edges of the screen become black and fade to create a circle of vision and the audio is muffled by a hum.
In the end Gary hangs himself. This doesn’t really come as a surprise because it is built up the entire film. Especially with the dramatic switch of perspectives I feel the ending was not a shocker. But at the same time, I see that is the purpose of the film. Depression isn’t something that randomly hurts people. A lot of the time it is seen as a progression and without the help and understanding provided the end could be like Gary’s. That is the message I am gathering from this production by the Irish Film Board. It is important to talk to teenagers (Gary is 14) and make sure they understand that you are there for them. Clearly in this film, Gary’s mom was a busy person. When he walks into the house, she does not even say hi to him. The only line of dialogue in the film is her asking him to wait till she is done cooking. The disappointment on Gary’s face when he smiles at her and she doesn’t notice is heartbreaking.

I think it would be interesting to see this story in a longer narrative format and learn more about the characters but its message wouldn’t be as strong in a longer format. I feel the short film has a sense of power where it can strike hard and fast where a longer film would have to drag out the message. The story would be so built up and we as an audience would become so involved that Gary’s life would not represent the numerous amounts of people that struggle with depression. In a longer film, Gary’s life and depression would become his own and it would be harder to relate his story to others like him.

All in all, I enjoyed this production. I think it is a very important topic and this internet video was a strong way to promote awareness for this particular issue. The “internet video” is something that large amounts of people have access to and is a great source for viral marketing. Another reason this video works as an internet piece is because of its length. When it comes to the internet people want to be able to navigate as quickly as possible. If the movie was longer, their attention span might not last. This short film works to the internet users advantage with its short quick message allowing them to move on or to become inspired and check out the link at the bottom of the bio, directing them to www.aware.ie.

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