Directed by Carl Hunter
Starring Joseph Mawle, Elisa Cowley, Maya Whatton
Short Film Review by Amy Cornforth
A Winter’s Tale is a fantasy short, and a homage to Shakespearean tragi-comedy ‘The Winter’s Tale’ – a play concerned with themes of love, jealousy and time. This beautiful micro – Shakespeare film focuses more on love and time, harnessing the fantastical aspects of the play to tell a slightly altered story, with the Shakespearean roots remaining prominent through a narrative which has been weaved together using lines from the play, and the iconic image of the living statue.
The film follows a character referred to as ‘Dad,’ (Joseph Mawle) who is isolated by his Wife (Elisa Cowley) and Daughter (Maya Whatton) due to their occupation with technology. As time passes and he becomes more isolated, he slowly begins to turn into a statue, and he is taken to a beach where he is doomed to remain for eternity, forgotten. This is a much sharper focus on the tragic aspects of the play, and a deeper exploration of the fantastical.
The cinematography of A Winter's Tale is beautiful, expertly crafted to communicate the themes and narrative of the short. The opening shots of a misty sea-shore, combined with a Theremin soundtrack really conveys a mournful and ethereal atmosphere, a mood which is maintained throughout the film. The design of ‘Dad’s’ home is particularly prominent, primarily made up of different shades of red, and the Wife and Daughter’s costumes match their home. Dad’s costume is made up of faded clothing to show he feels he doesn’t belong, and he is framed through a veil, looking into the house to heighten his isolation, and he remains in the same spot throughout the entirety of a stop – motion like sequence to show the passage of time. It’s a haunting image.
Although dialogue in the film is scarce, and mostly delivered through narration, the performances are still worth mentioning. Joseph Mawle gives a very sombre performance as ‘Dad,’ narrating the film in a monotone voice whilst maintaining the same expression of sadness as he gradually turns to stone. His Daughter, Maya Whatton, has little screen time, but in her few moments, she really captures the relationship between her and her father.
As a whole, the film is very beautiful, with a distinct melancholy tone conveyed through scenic cinematography, a strange Theremin soundtrack and sombre performances from all the actors involved.