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average rating is 3 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Oct 14, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Marleen Irani
Written by:
Shafira Sardar
Jennie Cruz Calvo, Marleen Irani

Red: the colour of love, of passion, of desire; but also the colour of anger, of aggression, of danger. In her new short film, director Marleen Irani explores the different aspects, meanings and uses of the colour Red to tell the story of a lone, young woman (Jennie Cruz Calvo) – a story that could rightly be extended to encompass the stories of many young women around the globe.


Writer Shafira Sardar deliberately keeps her protagonist nameless and silent throughout, with her story being told by a disembodied voice (played with conviction by Irani herself), who relays thoughts and feelings about her that only an intimate companion could know. It is up to the viewer to decide who this over-reaching voice could belong to – a parent, a lover, a friend – or if it is merely a manifestation of the young woman's superego, a voice in her own head that critiques and judges her choices and actions.


The woman is heading out on a date. The rain may be pouring down and the wind blowing through the streets but she's going anyway, determined to allow herself the time to meet and be met by others. We see her putting on red lipstick, bright red, which we are informed by the voice is not her usual colour and must therefore be for the purpose of impressing somebody else. What is the point in that?


The lights of the city dazzle and shine as they are reflected in the puddles and the rain soaked windows. As you might expect, colour and lighting play a large part in setting the scene and mood for the young woman's story, and a lot of attention is given to their placement and punch, almost reflecting and defining her character as we watch her on this journey.


The direction is considered and assured too, as we get a mix of close-up and wider shots, establishing the woman in time and place, while the voice muddies the waters of what we think we believe. Irani remembers to step back from time to time to watch the falling rain, the city lights or the wind between the leaves and some of the best shots of the film are those without anyone in them at all.


There is a lot that is said in the short five minute runtime of Red, and a lot that is left unsaid but rather shown. The woman's story in the end may not be that original, but then has a universal underpinning that will speak to many viewers individually. Red is a well crafted short film that shows Irani to be a director who appreciates the impact of a strong visual image.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Short Film, World Cinema
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