With Joyful Ring
Oct 29, 2022
Matthew Rhodes, Elena Hollander
A middle-aged man spends Christmas by himself and reminisces about the past.
It is Christmas and Thomas (Rhodes) wakes up in his home and begins his day of festivity. He cooks a Chrsitmas lunch, turkey and everything, puts on formal clothing and sits by himself at the dining room table, enjoying the food and wine. He appears to be living alone and keeps on thinking of his wife (Hollander).
This short is a Christmas film, however it is not one that is filled with happiness. This is a moving drama about a lonely man spending this day of festivity by himself as it is quite apparent that his wife has passed away.
The film opens with a wonderful establishing shot of a neighbourhood that is covered with snow and Christmas decorations, accompanied by a festive score, while the camera moves slowly towards Thomas's house. This opening gives the impression that this is going to be a light-hearted story, however clues appear later on that indicate that the protagonist is sad, lonely and grieving. He takes antidepressants, tenderly touches a robe that probably belonged to his wife and through flashbacks, he remembers joyful times with his wife.
His living room is filled with Christmas decorations, including a tree and a large collection of miniature houses and figurines, which he inspects and some of them bring back memories of his wife, as they remind him of activities they did together. For instance, tiny statues of a man and a woman sitting by a fire reminds him that he did the same thing with his wife. Thomas looking at the meaningful objects with emotion and the addition of the flashbacks make it clear that he misses his wife deeply.
A great deal of praise goes to the beautiful cinematography that George Pilafdzhyan creates, who also utilises black-and-white cinematography during the brief flashbacks. Pilafdzhyan also worked on the editing and does a great job with the dissolve technique and also develops a terrific dance montage.
There are no spoken words and the audience observes Thomas as he spends the day alone, having his memories to keep him company. Rhodes's performance is vital for the film to work and he succeeds at that tremendously, portraying a lonely and grieving individual. Recognition also goes to Hollander's emotional performance.
Regarding the music, it is mostly festive and it captures the beauty of the moment in a melancholic way.
The mise-en-scene deserves special mention, as it contains a rich collection of Christmas decorations that create a strong festive atmosphere.
This is a drama about a man remembering his wife. It is a story about loss, grief, loneliness and nostalgia and it points out how empty a person's life has become after losing a loved one. At the same time, it also shows the beauty of memories and how remembering joyful times can bring happiness. It is an emotional viewing experience that is filled my tender moments and it will most likely touch the viewer's heart.