Written and Directed by: #GinoVitolo
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
An older gentleman, who has been stranded alone on an island for several years, finds himself stuck in a depressingly monotonous existence day after day. With no one for company and little else to live for, he finds himself at sea, both literally and emotionally, looking to finally escape his torment via the depths below. But as fate would have it, before he can take the plunge, he discovers another being floating nearby, a young man.
After his rescue, the young man tries persistently to connect with his saviour however the old man wishes nothing more than to see out the rest of his days alone, with theirs now becoming a rather complicated and tense relationship.
For me, Stranded must be one of the most picturesque and visually striking #shortfilms of recent times. The films settings are a constant feast for the eyes; from the glorious sun-basked shores of the island that are all the more eye-widening as the sun is going down, to the moodily lit yet still captivating confines of the old man’s abode. Such contrasting aesthetics help give a great visual representation of the overall tone of counterbalance the film is reaching for, light versus dark, hope versus despair.
Subtlety seems to be the aim of the game here and in most cases it’s the right move. Stranded never comes across as overly self-indulgent or pretentious in its cinematography, which shows unbelievable constraint considering it has a plethora of surrounding beauty to draw on. The score, even at it’s peak, is never guilty of overpowering the action and along with the aforementioned visuals might even be one of the stand-out achievements here. The film also never resorts to using extravagant drama to make its mark, which in a completely character driven piece such as this works well in keeping the tone of the film at the right level.
Again, this tempered approach is also mirrored by the two leads. Both Taiuti or Borrino who are the ones who are ultimately tasked with steering this ship home, seem to be fully on board with the overall message here that less is more, and each manage to turn in high quality performances, clearly actors with the awareness that their expressions and manner can speak louder than the dialogue.
However, this scaled-back approach does mean that the film can feel like a very slow burn, the measured pace runs unnervingly close to the line at times and the interests of some could begin to fade throughout. Thankfully though, it does come good in the end, and Stranded ultimately rewards your patience.
Despite some pacing issues, #GinoVitolo has created a fine short film that is beautiful both on screen and at the core of its very poignant heart.
Watch the trailer here: