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I Am Winter short film review

★★★

Directed by: Sophie Mensah

Written by: Natascha Graham

Starring: Sophie Mensah

 

A voice over reads a poem and the camera frames a woman – the soothing voice and the woman’s emotional responses seem to move together in accordance.


A woman is standing near a window. Her face cannot be seen. She is touching a green leaf with her hand.
I Am Winter still

The woman does not move from where she is sat – inside a living room, next to a window, watching the world without being a part of it. The words seem to come from the woman’s heart as out-of-focus shots frame her distraught and emotional outburst. I Am Winter starts and finishes at the same place – within the 90 seconds it takes the narrator to read the poem, the protagonist does not go through a transformation, the short simply articulates how she feels: ‘I am frozen’ and ‘I am eerie stillness, the last bloom of white from dying blue lips’. No dialogue is offered to explain any information about the young woman, it is through the words of the poem that the audience is able to have the knowledge that the protagonist is a broken young woman who is trapped within a narcissistic and abusive relationship.


Written by Natascha Graham and performed by Sophie Mensah, I Am Winter depicts the dread and lack of self love that mature and spread due to the abuse and, on the other hand, the utopian view that the victim paints of the abuser: ‘she is everything I am not’ and ‘she is the whisper of holidays and beach trips, barbecues and laughter’.


The film is not set to offer a deeper analysis of abusive relationships or a story of recovery, it unveils one person’s experience without naming the victim or the abuser – it can be taken as a personal story, or it can be taken as a wider testimony that fits to other people’s experiences. Without showing the abuse, it illustrates how being in an abusive relationship might leave the abused person living in their own shell. The heartfelt poem and the honest performance in this short film work together to convey exactly that in only a minute and a half.

 


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