Elsewhere (A Flor Azul) short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #GuilhermePedra

Written by: #GuilhermePedra

Starring: #AnaMoioli, #GuilhermePedra

Film Review by: Darren Tilby



The death of a loved one leaves a massive void in people’s lives, and the grief caused by this can be utterly devastating to both the individual and the family unit as a whole if not managed effectively. But how do you deal with something like the untimely loss of a beloved family member? This question is put to contemplation in Guilherme Pedra’s moving short film, Elsewhere (A Flor Azul).


The arts are well-known for their therapeutic properties. Many artists (musicians, painters, etc.) have used their creativity to express themselves in the wake of tragedy; Eric Clapton wrote Tears in Heaven, and Pablo Picasso painted Guernica. This is the situation we find young Brazilian artist Luna (Ana Moioli) – a painter – in after the premature death of her brother, Antonio (Guilherme Pedra).


Elsewhere explores Luna’s journey through grief; from snippets of the past; through the darkness of depression; to the realisation that artistry holds the key to her salvation. All with her brother’s words echoing through her mind. It’s a marvellous achievement for a film that rocks in at just under 14-minutes long, and it’s accomplished with gorgeous cinematography (Xuezi Zhang), an outstanding, profoundly affecting score (Ching-Shan Chang) and a terrific performance from Moioli.


Zhang’s camera work is sublime and captures the emotional resonance of the film to absolute perfection. Beautifully composed shots – both close-up character shots and sweeping, serene vistas – flow effortlessly throughout and capture both the sheer soul-stirring evocation of Moioli’s, predominantly, physical performance, and the empty, but beautiful, landscapes that represent Luna’s emotional and psychological state. It’s exquisite in its own right, but when paired with Chang’s heart-wrenching, but mellifluously articulated, soundtrack – which makes excellent use of musical silence and ambient sounds – the movie becomes emotionally exhausting.


Elsewhere may, at its foundation, be an emotionally exhausting film; a contemplation of life after loss and the grief left behind. But, in actuality, it’s an incredibly uplifting, touching, and vital piece of short filmmaking, more about finding the strength to combat the pain of loss than being consumed by it. This Portuguese-language film is unique in many ways, and what Pedra manages to do in less than 14-minutes of screen time would make many big-name filmmakers blush. I can’t recommend Elsewhere enough, I loved it—and I know you will too.