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Lost Identity short film review


Directed by: #RuthHolder

Written by: Ruth Holder

Starring: #May


It begins with the mask. Our main character is before a mirror applying makeup, a physical action of concealment that transports us to the domain of her internal conflict, revealing the unfiltered pain of her character. Lost Identity through music, movement and without a single word uttered speaks a universal language of struggle. Influenced through her own emotional experiences, Ruth Holder’s directorial debut is an engrossing and electrifying combination of the frenetic energy of dance with the precision of filmmaking technique. It’s a film that feels so intimately personal but reaches out connecting the audience through shared feelings and understanding, a cinematic emphatic bond. What’s extraordinary about Lost Identity is that it doesn’t feel hopeless, that this character has succumbed to defeat and that the film wallows in an uncomfortable misery. The beauty comes from watching May move between liberation and trepidation, the uneasy balance of insecurity of who she is. Holder’s vision presents this dance as the constant battle, not one for glory or victory but the battle we all fight every day against our inner demons. The production design of the film reflects this in the location, a living space both decrepit and beautiful where light seeps in through windows covered in newspaper. The second half of the dance revolving around a large sash hanging from the ceiling symbolising the most troubling thoughts to May’s character. She has it take the form of a noose, a constant reminder to the entanglement and inescapability to these feelings, the terror and isolation one feels within themselves. Cinematographer George Allen’s use of lighting is integral to Holder’s direction and the dance as darkness can feel all-encompassing as it conceals May from herself and the audience. In moments of clarity and triumph, May is lit with a cool blue light as the dance displays amazing grace, feeling as if this is the only moment the character feels free from the anguish. Making the themes of mental health struggles more palpable, that her most serene moments are always followed by torment. Whether or not you can relate through personal experience it is incredibly striking. The choreography is critical to Lost Identity’s success, May’s entrancing work feels so layered that you pick up new details and intricacies with every subsequent rewatch. The inner conflict to the character appears to be disassociation but the dance is both highly focused and introspective that its possible for the struggle to be interpreted in different ways. Whether it be insecurity, depression, or self-loathing, its the fact that Holder’s film is so open that you can’t help but feel that May’s dance represents your own personal struggles. It is a bittersweet experience to watch Lost Identity but in the absolute best ways as its execution is remarkable but the truth to its themes has one reflect on their mental health. Not just with Holder’s visuals as the score from Osi and the Jupiter is so evocative and transportive, you could spend hours listening to the piece and imagining the dance within your mind. Lost Identity is a film that explores the desolation of one’s self, that May’s dance may end but the mental struggle never does, these feelings are always with you but what is powerful about Holder’s film is that in its honesty it offers a lifeline to those that may feel the same, making even its bleakest moments feel so inspiriting. To those who wear the masks, to those that feel pain and dread, to those who dance, lost in their own mind.

You are not alone.



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