By Zoe Turner
Siri Rodnes’ surreal exploration of a child’s struggle with her deteriorating health is a playful and touching short film. Its viewer follows the girl, as she escapes from her condition into a world of make-believe.
During these fantasies of hers, the girl follows a big bad wolf type character who she is determined to one day defeat. These episodes of the girl’s imagination are delivered surprisingly well for rising talent with a lower budget, with carefully timed sound effects and lighting to create a mood of suspense. Her mother leaves her to keep inventing, whilst she goes to hospital to talk to someone about developments in her daughter’s treatment.
While her mother is away, the girl encounters her neighbour, a young man who is hiding from his father and chooses to slip through the window of her house. His visit sparks a friendship which revolves around clothing; the boy comments on the girl’s “gorgeous” dress, and he starts trying on her mother’s clothes for himself. This is assumed by the audience to be the reason the boy has been chased out of his own home, and so the film starts to reveal itself as a representation of young minorities.
When her mother returns with a wheelchair, the girl is distraught due to the seeming demoralisation. It is after this trigger that the girl finally braves the wolf in her imagination, chasing it until she reaches an imitation of her own bedroom. Through the window of this bedroom, she can see her real one, her mother sitting where she would usually sit, seemingly mourning her daughter.
Just as the viewer takes this to be an upsetting loss for the girl against the big, bad wolf, her illness, the scene switches to the girl recovering in a hospital bed, her mother reading back her own stories to her. We immediately experience a rush of relief and warmth, as we are reminded of the strength any young person battling against a perceived weakness carries inside them.
While the film might lack an entirely effective script, the cast work well with what they have been given, and the story is certainly an inventive interpretation of an individual’s unique issues that are all to be acknowledged.