Echoes of Departure Short Film Review

★★★★★ Stars

Directed by: #HonHoang

Written by: #HonHoang

Starring: #JenniferKhoe, #MonicaCho

Film Review by: Alicia Moore

There’s always that one angelic person that you meet at some point during your time on Earth; someone that you never want to let go of. Someone that radiates golden, positive energy - you feeding off them like a bee does to a flower’s pollen. Even if you haven’t met that individual yet, it’s something magical to look forward to. For Jennifer Khoe’s character in this short film Echoes of Departure, she finally finds her vibrant link. Khoe’s character is quiet and stuck in the dull repetition of waking up, going to work and falling sleep once again in a cyclical manner. She had no excitement or spontaneity in her days before meeting Monica Cho’s character. Her character is outwardly the complete opposite of Khoe’s; she is energetic and speaks highly of her future dreams to travel and be a part of interesting, new cultures. She is definitely not stuck in the same sense of present repetition.

The contrasts between these characters are presented perfectly. They are made obvious by the way the actors chose to speak and move – for example, Cho’s character continuously walks with an upbeat bounce to her step, whereas Khoe’s character follows a considerably normal pace. The contrast brings the main focus of the film a better amount of depth and reason as it is clear that they both enjoy each other’s company even though they approach each day in different ways. Both of their individual energies attract one another and create a bond that both can identify with.

The characters also do not have set names within the story that is being shown. Cho is only referred to as ‘she/her’ by Khoe as she speaks her aiming words with purpose and heart. This provides the characters with more space to flourish their personalities without having any sort of name labels attached to them. The mystery behind their past and personal details allows the audience to focus on the comparison of the two characters and how their relationship grows as the film progresses.

Hon Hoang’s writing is individually extraordinary. Watching this short film is like immersing yourself in personified poetry. Each word can be remembered with grace and taken away from the production to use towards the most cherished individuals in your own life, the ones who bring you happiness and adventure. The story of these two characters meeting and almost immediately attaching to each other is beautiful; it lit up my daily path in so many forms.

Along with the captivating writing, the shots in the film are incredibly eye-catching. The sets that are used in each scene are simple but the director of photography, Anghel Paras, highly succeeded in making the scenes appear enchanting. Through the expert use of the camera, the settings do not seem plain in any context of the plot; they bring a more fragile and entrancing nature to the film instead.

Composer, Dash Lunde, adds to the desired ambience of the film with his brilliantly flowing tracks. The cinematography and music work hand in hand to provide an immersive experience. Matching this, in the overall end product that the audience is presented with, every element of the making of this film pairs flawlessly together.

It is certain that Echoes of Departure will stay in the forefront of my mind for an extended period of time after this first viewing. I was struck by its beauty immediately; I now have the urge to share it with everyone who joins my presence. I want to personally thank Hon Hoang’s heavenly mind for bringing this short film to life. His aptitude for writing and directing cannot be denied after watching.