Directed by: #AvibrataChanda
Usually if someone is meeting with their accountant, it is to discuss whether they can afford a second home in the Cotswolds or a fancy new sports car. For Emma, titular protagonist of Emma’s Visitor, the costs she may be about to pay are far higher. At least this accountant is more stylish than the grey-suited sullen faced bore you were probably expecting…
In the middle of a stupor, Emma (Lucy Kitson) finds herself joined by a mysterious visitor (Caitlin Claire Henning) who reveals herself to be ‘an accountant’. When quizzed, the visitor reveals that her purpose is on behalf of a far higher power, and that Emma currently finds herself situated in limbo. In order to escape, she will need to find deeper truths in herself to understand how she ended up between life and death.
Emma’s Visitor is another short film focused on an individual at a low point in their life having a conversation with an otherworldly, shadowy presence. Much like The Critic, or Death Offers Life, the audience is witness to a conversation that may or may not be imaginary, or occurring within the protagonist’s head. A difference with this film however is that the Visitor reveals their purpose very early on and explains Emma’s situation clearly, allowing the film to dive into the personal struggles far quicker. This is an effective choice by director Avibrata Chanda which prevents the short becoming bogged down.
Chanda’s imagery works in the story’s favour. The drained colour palette gives an eery feel to the world of limbo. Similarly, the contrasting wardrobe of the Visitor, who wears both white and black, is a further example of careful planning that adds a deeper context to the piece. Emma’s all-black attire may also be a foreboding hint at the film’s true ending. Some of the design choices are a little on-the-nose (a picture in Emma’s flat saying ‘are you dreaming?’ in particular) but none to the point of detracting from the rest of the well-crafted visual storytelling.
Lucy Kitson and Caitlin Claire Henning are an intriguing contrast as the leads – The Visitor’s suave and mysterious confidence a reversal of Emma’s flustered and stressed concern. Despite probing and picking away at Emma and her failures, audiences will get the sense that The Visitor is in her own way looking to aid Emma – or at least give her a fair hearing in front of the higher power she serves. Expectations of her playing an antagonistic role are subverted by the end – despite the film’s outcome being left to question. The ambiguity is in-line with the film’s nature and feels an appropriate tone for the performances.
Emma’s Visitor is hardly ground-breaking, but does add some interesting twists to a genre of short film that has seen many entries in the last few years. Director Avibrata Chanda makes sure to add some nice touches for eagle-eyed viewers that make for a deep and satisfying watch.