Directed by: James Webber
Written by: James Webber
Starring: Rosie Day, Sian Breckin, Kate Dickie, James Alexandrou
Short Film Review by: Hannah Sayer
‘Soror’, when translated from Latin, means ‘sister’. Written and directed by James Webber, this short film follows a family of three women with fractured relationships with one another. A sisterly bond present between the two half-sisters in the film is the only joyous aspect of this familial drama at the beginning, yet Soror goes on to explore how these three women revisit their past and attempt to seek reconciliation with one another.
Grace, played by Rosie Day, is a talented dancer living with her half-sister Lisa, played by Sian Breckin, and her mother Amanda, played by Kate Dickie. There is a mysterious tension in the house, which is first realised in a scene when Amanda joins Grace and Lisa for breakfast. It is clear that Lisa is more of a mother figure to Grace than Amanda is and that something has happened in the past to cause this tense atmosphere to engulf the household. As Lisa and Amanda begin to argue with one another, Grace cries out “Can we please not do this again?” This reinforcement of ‘again’ suggests the harsh reality of their existence as a family and that this is an ongoing tension.
Soror follows the two half-sisters as they spend their last day together before Lisa leaves the estate to make a new life for herself. When Lisa is arguing with her boyfriend in the pub about wanting “something new” and her desire to move away, it is clear she has aspirations of escaping her current situation, whether it is with him or not. Throughout this day, Amanda takes up a new job and past memories come flooding back for all three women. These relationships are all tested in different ways before the short film’s resolution.
There is a naturalistic feel to Soror which is reinforced through the filming technique employed, the acting styles and the dialogue. This works well in establishing realistic character dynamics and a sense of place. All three of the women in their respective roles are brilliant, particularly Kate Dickie as the mother who feels isolated from her daughter. The viewer is given a brief snapshot into these lives, while the filmmaker continues to build intrigue by withholding names and relationships from the viewer for a while into the short film. This allows for own interpretations of character motivations to be created and not allowing the viewer to be given all the answers encourages an element of mystery to linger long after viewing. Experimental shots are also interspersed throughout the narrative adding an artistic edge to the production.
With a reflective ending which doesn’t reveal all, but one which suggests these characters are in a happier place than they were at the start, Soror ends on a high note.
Watch the official movie trailer for Soror below.