Directed by Maria Pia Fanigliulo Starring Kelby Keenan & James Rallison Short Film Review by Phil Slatter
Fragments of May is a short film that in a running time of little over twenty minutes, manages to pack in elements of horror, sci-fi, drama and mental health, mixing it with an appropriate amount of ambiguity and resolution. All in all it makes for a memorable and impressive piece of work.
The plot is, as the title suggests, somewhat fragmented. We meet May (Kelby Keenan) who is residing in a mental institution all the while claiming she is visiting earth from another planet. What drove her to be in the institution is eventually revealed while a mysterious planet that lingers over certain scenes suggests to the audience that there may well be some truth in May’s erratic claims.
The notion of science-fiction overtones interspersed with mental health is not an entirely original one but while this feels, in tone and plot, to be a close cousin to Iain Softleys K-Pax it manages to retain its own unique sense of identity.
Writer/director Maria Pia Fanigliulo uses wide shots early on in Fragments of May to establish characters and scenes which utilises the simple but always effective method of letting the camera tell the story. The use of a wide shot also comes into play later on during a particularly chilling and shocking – in two senses of the word – scene which is pivotal to the film's core plotline.
The use of music remains almost entirely diegetic, thus feeding into the fact that this is very much the world of the characters and that we, the audience, are outsiders, deciphering the real from the potentially imagined. The performances are universally excellent – appropriately understated which is so important in a film of this nature.
It all makes for a short film that is designed to within an inch of its life and designed very well indeed, serving a script that raises questions and gives some answers while also allowing the audience to make their own interpretations of the events within.