Thursday, September 08, 2011

Old Meal - Directed by Britni(?) West

http://vimeo.com/2982056
Sorry I dont know how to imbed this...

Old Meal is a film that creates a story out of an unlikely subject matter - the elderly. We follow the simple but endearing routine of an elderly couple starting their day. The husband hobbles around the home, makes breakfast and talks with his wife. Their actions are painfully deliberate and slow, and they both appear not entirely there. Yet, the couple is clearly devoted and enjoys their life. The film ends when the husbands routine is halted by an unexpectedly empty bag of oatmeal and goes in search of more.

One of the things I love about many shorts films is how they convey so much with so little. Call me sentimental, but 'Old Meal' gives us the perfect combination of love, heartbreak and beauty. I also enjoy that this film (in my opinion) could never be made into a feature length film. The slice of life style makes it all the better, so that we feel we are savoring its brevity, because every moment is so rich.

What stands out in this film is the beautiful and carefully executed cinematography. The camera is the older man; we see him forgetting what he needs to do, his stilted vision, how every action is deliberate and creaky with age. The lens falls in and out of focus, highlighting the mans confusion and age. Each routine is new, and yet familiar. The most beautiful sequence is when the wife dances for her husband, and how vibrant she looks despite her age. We see the husband smile, a smile full of love, and we know that somehow this couple is still in love. Seeing this older couple still in love is touching, and yet heartbreaking. Both are clearly losing their memory, and simply going about their day is becoming difficult. The last scene where the husband goes out in search of oatmeal show a huge contrast between his world, and the busy faceless world of the real world.

The mise-en-scene should also be noted for this film. The cinematographer managed to make a dingy old apartment look like a painting in every frame. The colors depict the warmth of the scene, the faltering camera focus shows us the age, and the many close up and over the shoulder shots really let the viewer feel as if they are struggling with the same hardships the older man is.

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