Written & Directed by Armand Simon
Starring Kyara van Romondt, Sabrina Tromp, Darryl de Vries, Lola van Dijk
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Structured over the course of one day, Armand Simon’s delicate and tender story about a character’s attempt to take the plunge and reveal her sexuality to a close friend is a wonderful snapshot of life, love, coming out and coming of age.
Monica (Kyara van Romondt) is a shy but determined young woman, whom we meet early on in Yesterday’s Rain (original title E Yobida di Ayera) looking longingly at a picture of a pretty young woman (Sabrina Tromp) who we meet later, when the two friends meet up at the beach. Once there, Monica attempts to bring herself to reveal her secret longing, being held back by her own lack of confidence, her friend’s apparent ignorance of the adoration she inspires, as well as a variety of obstacles including the arrival of a happy couple (Darryl de Vries and Lola van Dijk).
The colour palette used in Simon’s short film felt dreamlike and nostalgic, the vibrancy in the natural lighting and the landscape was gorgeous. This, combined with a subtle sound design from Joachim Heinrich and sumptuous cinematography created a deeply emotive stage to launch the intensity of Monica’s internal dilemma from, thereby making it that much more affecting. When the two friends are enjoying each other’s company on the sand, or taking photographs against the rocks, the audience gets the feeling that this feels hazy and tinged with regret, an opportunity missed perhaps. This is reinforced by the movie’s end, and is made all the more heartbreaking by van Romondt’s understated performance.
As an LGBT story, Yesterday’s Rain captures something both beautiful and fragile. The tentative steps that Monica takes feel like the beginning of an important journey for her character, and yet the setbacks she experiences seem just as formative. There is a daydream sequence which is complete escapism, but is also the only time she ever seems comfortable in her own skin. During her brief encounter with the couple on the beach, she seems at odds with their closeness, and is particularly agitated by her friend’s apparent “flirting” with the guy. It is by this point that the audience starts to consider Simon’s tale as something completely different to a heroic stepping out of the closet, and could in fact be the reverse.
The plot felt a little underdeveloped, and the dialogue shifting between different languages felt unnecessarily distracting, but there is a universality to Yesterday’s Rain which was its real triumph. Anyone facing a life-changing “outing” of their hidden self, orientation or otherwise, will completely connect with this film’s approach to the reluctance of the human spirit to be vulnerable. The reams of protective layers that surround ourselves are often incredibly difficult to shed, even with those closest to us, and Monica’s struggle to be totally intimate and open with her nearest friend is not only compelling to watch but sadly very commonplace.