Directed by: #HarveyKadijk
Dion is a lonely figure. Her long face and dark hair are permanently shrouded in a grey hoodie, and waves of misery roll off her. She is a teenaged grim reaper, quiet and morose. She doesn’t pay attention in class, and her teacher reminds her that this is her last chance. She’s freaked out by men, and she never seems completely content in her solitude. This is a girl trapped in her past trauma. She’s unable to escape, the events of the past are pressed on constant replay in her mind.
Kadijk’s intelligent direction is reminiscent of this year’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, a film which follows a teenage girl’s pilgrimage to get an abortion. There’s the same sense of unease here in the film that almost every woman has experienced. It’s that unease you get when you’re walking home late at night, and the streetlights aren’t quite bright enough. You can see a man looming, and you grasp your keys tighter. Kadijk has perfectly tapped into that specific fear; and coupled with Dion’s trauma and guilt, excellently portrayed by Melisa Alkanlar, this is a film which quietly confronts violence towards women and sexual assault head-on.
The cinematography is excellent. Dion dominates the screen, and we are forced to be in her presence and understand why she carts her sorrow around. Her black hair cascades down like a veil, and although she is mostly silent, the audience is invited into her soul. The film is essentially spliced into three parts. The present is dominated by silence and a palette of blues and greys. Dion’s black and white past interrupts the present in waves. Although it is somewhat stereotypical to put a scene in the past in black and white, here it works to great effect. The black and white scenes allow the audience to focus not only on younger Dion’s solitude but her naivety too. This girl has no idea what will happen that will traumatise her future self. The third part is cast in hot pink. This is Dion’s safe space, where she can explain her assault without having to explain herself.
DION is a remarkable short film. Although the subject matter is traumatic, the film only invites compassion towards the victim. Dion may be quiet, but in this short film, her character reclaims her narrative and allows herself to access the help she sorely needs. This film is a bold act of compassion and a highly important watch.