Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Quintessential: Grandma’s Funeral



Directed by Paul Olding, United Kingdom, 2007, approximately 8 minutes.
Source: DC Short Film Festival 2008 - Showcase 3

Grandma's Funeral was originally written by Laura as the review of DC Shorts Film Festival. I wrote a review about Diva at that time, but it was difficult for me to choose between Diva and Grandma's Funeral because I liked both films very much. Therefore, I decided to write about Grandma's Funeral this time for my quintessential and am happy to get a chance to talk about this short film.

Grandma's Funeral was shown in showcase 3. The film takes place in a room, and three women are getting ready to go to their Grandma;s funeral. They do not wear black clothes although it is a funeral, because Grandma never liked black. When one of the women, the mother of two other women, tries to wear her skirt, the zipper is stuck. All three of them try to make it work, but it is completely jammed. Forgetting that they have to hurry up for Grandma’s funeral, they are completely preoccupied with the zipper. Someone outside tells them to be prepared soon, but the women do not care at all. They laugh loudly looking at this hilarious situation before Grandma’s funeral. One of the women even tries to make a new skirt with a sewing machine. Then the mother figures it out. The zipper is finally working again. Hearing the person outside the door shouting at them to hurry up, they suddenly become silent with grief shown on their faces.

The three women in Grandma's Funeral pretend to be cheerful in order to hide the sadness deep inside them. They laugh out loud when the mother's zipper gets stuck and try to concentrate only on the zipper. They want to forget the fact that their beloved Grandma has died. But this attempt to avoid the reality soon ends as the zipper gets unstuck. Even though they were laughing so hard, it seemed to me that they are shedding tears internally and look even sadder than just crying out loud. The moment the women came back to reality was so sudden and unnatural that I could feel their sadness, as well.

Laura mentioned in her previous review that she liked the film's dramatic music, as well as it being like a cinematic snapshot, and I agree with her. Contrary to the sad situation in the film, the music is not gloomy at all; it is rather fast and exciting. According to Laura’s expression, "the music was similar to what would play in a horror film" and "it added levity" to the film. By playing music that does not match the circumstance, it emphasizes the situation. The music also makes the situation urgently, adding a lot of tension in the circumstance and it even made me, a member of the audience, want to do something to help them. While I was watching the movie, I kept thinking 'what happens if the mother cannot get the zipper fixed? Are they even able to go to the funeral?' In addition, Grandma's Funeral successfully captures a moment in our lives like a snapshot. A mother and her two daughters get together before their Grandma's funeral, and as they get prepared, they find things that remind them of the daughters' childhood. They also make a memory that will last in their hearts before the funeral. Even though they have to go to funeral, the family feels happiness from what they have shared together in the past, and will share in the future. Therefore, the scene makes the audience feel warmth.

Grandma's Funeral deals with grief in a very unique way. Generally, a film that deals with a funeral tends to be gloomy and sad, making the audience even sadder. However, by showing the hilarious situation and the three women laughing out loud, Grandma's Funeral effectively emphasizes the sadness inside them.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is very impressive. When I read the title, I thought this film would be gloomy. But it wouldn't. As you know, the paradox such as not wearing black, laughing loudly make the film attractive. I wanna listen to background music of the film. The fast music might raise the dramatic tension of the film.

Anonymous said...

Even thogh we have the situation we really don't want to face, even though we hope not to happen, even though we want to escape or ignore our reality, we are to confront that reality sooner or later.

Joo said...

Eventhough my grandpa died a few years ago, I don't really remember what it was like to lose someone. But what I do remember is seeing my mom crying in her bed silently. I hope these three women have some time to cry too, shedding tears. It will not be enough, of course, but it might help them get over the loss.

gong said...

I can feel how sad it is to lose someone. The thought that came to me after watching this film is that I hope I don't have to experiece sad situations like this. Yes, I do know somebody close to me will die as people get old and sick, but I do hope it happens far away from the present. It is so good to have everyone around me and I really don't want to think about losing anyone.

Hyemin said...

I wonder what kind of music is in the movie. It is true that the situation and the background music do not match, the situation stands out.
The picture is funny. I can imagine how the situation is.

JJ said...

One of the reasons I like films is that they capture a moment in our lives and keep it, so we can see the precious moment again. Even though the funeral is sad, the women can share a good time together, and I think that is meaningful.

Laura G. said...

I had not considerded the possibility of laughter as a way of crying. I had thought of laughter as a way of avioding sadness, but then again, there are multiple ways to be sad.

Jun said...

When you see the Korean movie, The Host, the family is crying but the situation is hilarious, and the music is also funny. But that emphasizes the sadness of the family. I guess it is similar in this short film, as well.

Narae said...

Spending some time with your family is very important, but it is not easy to realize it. It seems like the three women are having a pleasant time, even though it is before going to their grandma's funeral.

soyoung said...

The music was similar to what would play in a horror film? I want to see the short film and hear the music! People tend to concentrate on something else to forget their sadness, and the zipper makes the women to escape the reality.