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Adel short film review


Directed by: #CayetanoGonzalez

Written by: #CayetanoGonzalez

Starring: #AdelIudina


A curious, chaotic montage of a life, and a story of self-acceptance, Adel is a short artistic endeavour from director Cayetano Gonzalez which represents a young woman’s journey to find herself in a confusing world.

The film is a mixture of self-shot footage from star and subject Adel Iudina and fantastical and symbolic imagery conjured by the director – resulting in an impactful and emotional visual experience which is self-reflective and forward thinking. Adel’s life – from the daughter of a Russian immigrant to a confident fashion model is covered innovatively – Iudina herself playing the role of her own mother, and the intensely personal and fearless representation on show gives the viewer an unshakeable connection with the film’s subject.

Gonzalez’ direction is striking, with some outstanding shots and visuals which mix the personal and the ultra-produced successfully to represent the contrasting themes of Adel’s life in front of a camera. Personal, shaky-cam close-ups of Adel’s mother riding the bus, or self-shot footage of Adel in hotel rooms cover her personal life and bring the audience into her world. The deliberate artistic shots, which use somewhat indulgent metaphorical imagery and fixed, professional camera angles keep the audience at arms-length, and represent the often-isolating side of life in the fashion industry.

Didi Anderson provides the voice of Adel, bringing a passionate and sensual voiceover to the film. The director’s intertwining of her words with the images on screen is cutting and emphasises the personality behind the person. The script of the voiceover itself is elevated by its delivery, and at times strays into self-indulgent territory. In an attempt to strip away boundaries and allow us into every facet of Adel’s world, it trips up by relying on cliches and buzzwords which end up coming across as cringy, and at times out of synch with what the aim of the film appears to be. For example, Adel acknowledges her white privilege whilst cracking an egg on screen – which comes across as her arrogantly deeming herself to be rid of it. This would contrast with the rest of her personality that is portrayed and is presumably not the director’s intention. Whilst ambiguity is largely used very effectively, the script does stumble at times such as in this incident, and the quality of the delivery alone cannot prevent it.

Beyond this the bohemian style of the piece is firmly targeted to a receptive audience who embrace the whimsical and non-conformist arts. Less inclined viewers may find themselves missing the film’s meanings or rejecting them entirely. However, one gets the sense from the creators that they could not care less – and this fearlessness stems from the film’s heart. Openness to rejection is a part of Adel’s journey, the film’s similar refusal to compromise for those who do not wish to understand it is admirable rather than arrogant.



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