Directed by: Rahul Sharma
Written by: #RahulSharma
A mother and daughter road trip turns into a heartbreaking state of the French nation in short film The Binoculars (french title Une Paire De Jumelles) from writer/director Rahul Sharma.
Amy Lally plays Cadence, a rebellious teen looking to avoid contact with her mother (Joana Vinogradoff) at all costs, even jumping out of cars in order to make a getaway. However, a road trip across France ensures Cadence will need to find other ways to escape. She has her binoculars with her and when the opportunity arises, Cadence makes another break for it into the midst of two Syrian refugees JoJo and Kara (Salim Benmoussa and Maia Andriamandimby) who are also escaping.
Reminiscent of the spectacular short Samira, and gorgeously cinematic, The Binoculars has a picturesque quality to the visuals which is deeply satisfying, from the frenetic urban streets to the tranquil countryside. The relocation of the story from the city to the country is an important factor. It allowed the central characters to shed their petty everydayness and witness a more tragic situation without the baggage of life's distractions. The dialogue is sharp and often bereft of emotion, perfectly representing the central dynamic, a troubled mother-daughter chemistry.
Lally is a great lead, allowing her character's petulance to morph into something more endearing when she comes across JoJo and Kara, dancing with the latter. Her opening sequences on a balcony with her friend Lily (Elsa Houben) were brilliantly cheeky. It is Vinogradoff who impresses most, though, with a thoughtful turn as the beleaguered mother and police officer whose desperation when Cadence goes missing is genuinely frightening. Salim Benmoussa and Maia Andriamandimby are also splendid in their roles, especially when JoJo comes face to face with Cadence's mother.
It's a powerful story about growing pains and the fragility of familial bonds. The tenderness shown to two refugees living alone in the French woods is a harsh reminder of what we all take for granted and how devastating being separated from our loved ones could be. The symbolism of the binoculars is not accidental. On the one hand, a device to escape our reality and peek into new worlds, and on the other a way of finding what we have lost so we can make our way back before it's too late.
Sometimes a short film comes along that would totally stand up to a feature length whilst still existing as a formidable piece of short #filmmaking. The Binoculars is such a movie. It felt as if there was more story here to be told but if this was all audiences receive, then we should be completely grateful for such an honest, thought provoking and affecting movie.
Watch the official movie trailer for The Binoculars below.