Mémoires d’un Mime
20 Dec 2021
A film by Jamey Brown, which he made whilst at film school with his brother, shows some interesting experimentation, most notably with the sound and the grading, in a short story about a down on his luck mime artist.
The short is just under two and a half minutes in length and features Samson as the mime artist who's alone in his apartment. As he sits up in his full mime artist costume and make-up, his whitened face full of tears, he opens the bedside draw to get a cigarette. The foley sound effects are big and exaggerated, rattling the senses. He lights up and begins to scribble a note in his notebook with the continued heightened sound grabbing your attention, making you feel them and bringing them to the fore as acts of dramatic significance.
It becomes clear he is writing a suicide note that mocks his own art form, “I can’t take this anymore I feel all alone in a silent world...” All the while the music score plays charming French café music (C’est L’Amour Classiques Francais Romantique) that conjures up images of the French joie de vivre that’s in contrast to his sad and depressed disposition, alone in his rundown room, with the tears of a clown painted on his face, wearing his hooped marinière top. He takes a knife from the kitchen and turns on the shower taking one slow knowing look to the camera before it cuts to him slumped on the shower floor his blood draining away.
As the credits role the film finishes with an audio quote from philosopher Tom Watts, “A person that thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts and so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusion.” A profound statement ironically linked to this mime artist's story who has had enough of his own acts of illusion.
There is plenty to like here including the sole performer, the mime artist played by Samson, who has some wonderful looks to the camera at the beginning and at the end that speak volumes. The grading uses a worn grainy effect that matches the run down state of the apartment, which looks like it has been patched up with masking tape, that all add to the overall gloomy outlook. The dramatization is forewarned and concluded with the ominous sounds of a woodblock used to great effect in traditional Asian theatre and there are some nice camera touches like the pan between the facial expression and the knife, which says it all before the final conclusive frame.
It’s a thoughtful and thought provoking short that packs plenty of creative elements in it combining the French sound and look with the melancholic struggle of the mime artist and, although it doesn’t end well for him, leaves you with plenty to think on.