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Petit Four short film review


Directed by: Kalainithan Kalaichelvan


From the director of the exceptional short films Stella Maris and Inland Freaks, comes a remarkable and poignant piece of filmmaking, Petit Four.

Starring Peter Higginson and JoAnn Nordstrom as an elderly couple whose blissful winter months of their marriage are under threat from an invisible menace.

Higginson plays Wilfred, a man tormented by his suspicion that his wife Agnes is having an affair with a ghost, in their own home! His attempts to come to terms with this betrayal range from emotional outbursts to pottering around the house with a camera attempting to catch the cuckolding swine with the flash.

As his despair grows, Wilfred's grieving becomes increasingly troubling as we start to question the reality of everything we see.

Sublimely acted by both Higginson and Nordstrom, the pair don't put a foot wrong. Every scene is brimming with a quiet, passionate dialogue and chemistry that will have audiences enraptured by the subtle grace of it all. One particularly brilliant sequence involved the dripping of icing over a piece of cake and the offish atmosphere which followed was palpably gripping.

As with Kalainithan Kalaichelvan's other movies, the visual landscape of Petit Four is breathtaking. A tip of the hat to #cinematography artist Christopher Law. From the gorgeous landscape shot of Wilfred on a park bench to the ferociously intimate dining scenes with Agnes, there is a sumptuous quality to the short film that viewers can utterly immerse themselves in.

The stunning visuals are accompanied by a glorious sound design, one that knows how to compliment the mise en scéne perfectly. The haunting strings playing behind Wilfred's distressed narration created a harrowing environment and allowed the movie to slowly increase the tension to a dramatic and thrilling final third.

It was wonderful to see a movie depict elderly characters without the need to inject “life” into the piece with youngsters. Wilfred and Agnes are incredible characters and the piece didn't need anyone else (except maybe a ghost) to hold it up. This contributed a great deal of depth to the themes of the story (which I won't spoil) as well as a much-needed authenticity.

Parts of Petit Four were reminiscent of Andrew Haigh's excellent 45 Years, and viewers looking for a convincing portrayal of a relationship in the latter years need look no further.


Watch the official movie trailer for Petit Four below.



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