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the transience of life and the inevitability of death (2021) Short Film Review


Directed by: #SkyMcIntyre

Written by: #SkyMcIntyre


In this experimental short, debut director Sky McIntyre explores the necessity of death in life and the beauty of their coexistences through a montage of still, black and white photographs, music and text.

the transience of life and the inevitability of death (2021) runs at just under two and a half minutes and was heavily inspired by the influential still image filmmaking of Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962), as well as the 17th century Dutch still life Vanitas.

The film is entirely comprised of black and white still photos of a graveyard and statues of an angelic mother and young daughter. The choice of opting for no colour enhances the timeless quality of this visual aesthetic and philosophical themes addressed within the short, with aspects of mortality and the inevitability of life and death naturally covering a universal topic to the human condition. McIntyre evokes the tone of an old silent film from the early period of cinema, with an elegant title card preceding the short, before haunting vocals by Angèlia Grace fade in to accompany the succession of images.

The short opens with the statues of mother and daughter (Favriel) in a graveyard, both acting as the speaking points for the film, with small yellow text depicting dialogue underneath the heavily saturated photos as Favriel asks why “life must come to an end?”. McIntyre utilises various angles of the statues throughout to maintain viewer engagement, with the significance of the themes explored highlighted by cuts between long to medium shots. The ‘conversation’ is edited together with various photographs of the expansive graveyard and it is unclear whether these photos were taken in the same location as the statues.

There is a very effective correlation between the philosophical ideas and visuals, with a photography of a symbolic white light at the end of the tunnel as the mother explains that death is “part of the voyage of rebirth”. The unique, experimental style is successful in compelling viewers to engage with the existential subject matter of mortality, especially when coupled with the moving vocal track.

However, this choice of presentation is also flawed in its static editing together still photos to present the director’s own meaning, which does result in a slight disconnect whilst watching as there is a lack of spontaneity or authenticity to the piece.

Nevertheless, the transience of life and the inevitability of death is still an admirable effort and its short length enhances the provocative nature in engaging viewers with its exploration of life and death.



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