Directed by Daniel Montanarini
Starring Emily Barber
Short Film Review by Daniel Reason
It can be a difficult task telling an important person in your life something that will certainly create a reaction. You want to ensure you give all the details, while still being considerate and understanding of how much of a change can be made to their everyday life - for this is something that Daniel Montanarini’s short film, The Arrival is centred upon. Told purely through the thoughts of Anna, who is played by Emily Barber, we learn more about her as she decides whether or not to deliver the news.
As one would expect, The Arrival has a very basic structure. The camera focuses only on Anna and her reactions, whilst her thoughts are delivered through a voice over. Despite this, Monatanarni makes an excellent decision himself by moving the camera closer and closer to Anna, all the while she considers more about this situation. In certain moments, the shot will pull back, demonstrating the arc within her mind. This remarkable use of directing is heightened further due to the high level of quality within the cinematography, by Alistair Little. Lighting is used impeccably, which will also change in accordance with what Anna is thinking. A clear use of the classic technique of “show, don’t tell” is demonstrated when suddenly Anna will stop, the camera will slowly pan towards her face and the lighting/tone shifts quickly. It must be applauded how articulate the filmmaking is here, especially due to the simplicity of the story.
Of course, with it being rather “straight forward” it can be difficult to interpret anything more than what you get. Emily Barber delivers a voice over performance that works perfectly with the pacing, and her physical movements run parallel with those thoughts to a tee. It would have benefited, however, to include some form of conflict within the dialogue as it isn’t made too clear why she wouldn’t reveal the news to this unknown person, so it can feel a little one note at times.
The ability to tell a simple story, in such a short period of time, at a high level is one that very few have. Daniel Montanaini, however, has created an engaging short, where his skills in directing are clear to see and his appreciation for his work is obvious.