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The Second Life short film

Directed by Pedro Pimentel

Starring William Galatis, Craig Capone, Anthony Gaudette, Anna Rizzo, Michael A. Coppola, Ron G. Young, David Afflick

Short Film Review by Chris Olson

Vintage in all the right places, filmmaker Pedro Pimentel's short film The Second Life has a classic feel to almost all the aspects of the filmmaking, resulting in a movie that feels like a sumptuous and vivacious throwback.

The story is of Joseph Maria (William Galatis) who uncouthly bothers his local Bishop one night and proceeds to regale him with dramatic stories of his former life. Through the use of flashback, the audience is treated to gloriously cinematic events that get pieced together, creating a cruel tapestry of tragedy, culminating in a brilliantly tense sequence.

Dramatic and bold, The Second Life is a short film that the viewer will need to submit to. Everything about the movie is committing to a strong tone that is equal parts theatricality and melodrama. The performances are all in this style, occasionally slipping into a more televisual guise, but for the most part executing a nightmarish fairytale with impressive skill.

It is in the aesthetics that Pimentel's film is most compelling. From the booming orchestral score and moody lighting, to the phenomenal sets and costumes, an engaging atmosphere is created and maintained throughout that is simply gorgeous. There were also some brilliant stylistic choices during the short which stood out. One of which was the use of colour during one flashback. Slipping from colour into black and white seamlessly, Pimentel not only delivered a stunning visual effect, he also made, either knowingly or not, an intelligent connection between the emotional instability of one's character and one's memories, that can end up defining us.

The dialogue felt jarring with the film's visual landscape. Whilst everything was set up to be excellently cinematic, the lines between the performers came across as being lifted from an indulgent stage production. This could have been solved with some sharper editing and firmer direction, however the end result meant a few scenes lingered too long and the punch of the performances, in particular Galatis, was undermined.

As a whole, though, The Second Life is a bountifully impressive piece of fierce filmmaking. For audiences with a penchant for melodrama and classic movies, there are few other short films in 2017 that will give you the same standard of cinema.


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