Some say an impressive love story has a happy ending; others say that any beautiful love story has a tragic ending. ‘Amber’ somehow adopts both variants, proposing a hypnotic and attractive scenario placed on the border between reality and dream, exploring the inner drama of a man for whom reality has become unbearable. Gabriel Mirété’s project is thus an interesting experiment that even if it doesn’t intend to follow the pattern of a psychological film plunging into the pathology of a traumatized individual, manages to create a sort of sad fairy-tale about loss and hope, trying to prove the incompatibility of our inner desires with the exigencies of the reality we live in. Opting for a complex and attractive epic and visual scheme that combines into a relatively unconventional, almost psychedelic cinematic experience, inspired by the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jaco Van Dormael, or Michel Gondry (especially ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’), the director of this short film succeeds in subtly avoiding the premises of a predictable love story, combining the requirements of an experimental narration with the harmonious sensory morphology of an almost oneiric universe. The effect is more than spectacular, since the spectator faces a wide range of contradictory emotions that provides the destiny of the protagonists even greater emotional complexity.
Barnabé is an ordinary guy, secretly loving Ambre, who tries to convince her to have a date with him. The problem is that the girl doesn’t seem interested in his offer, but Barnabé finds in the shop where he works a book whose advice might help him overcome his emotional blockage. The reading of this book is very efficient, but without realizing it, the young man slides slowly into an unreal world, where it is impossible to make the difference between dream and reality. Someone has to awaken him, but what is harder to bear: your own life or the self-deception in a cosy illusory world?
By reading such a synopsis, viewers might think that this short film is a kind of ‘Matrix’. But Gabriel Mirété’s experiment is far from being a sci-fi that aims to create a whole philosophy around the superficiality of reality in which we live. This fact, however, doesn’t diminish the suggestive force, but on the contrary: ‘Amber’ is a human and empathic short film which is misleading through its quasi-fairy-like interface that, although it doesn’t privilege an ideological debate on our (in)ability to assume our own reality, offers a bittersweet exercise about the complexity of human feelings forced to adapt to external rigor. The balanced and diaphanous chromatics, the soundtrack that creates a ludic and almost evanescent atmosphere, the alternation of slow and implosive with dynamic frames are some of the main elements used by the director whose short film doesn’t aim to give any verdicts or to attack a conceptual arsenal related to psychological disturbances, but only to sincerely present the emotional crisis of an individual defeated by reality, for whom love is no longer feasible except in a purely imagined mental projection.
For its narrative nonconformism that avoids romantic clichés, for the sensitivity with which it renders the emotional crisis of an individual dispossessed of love, but also for the intelligent balance between chromaticity, sound and epic dynamism, ‘Amber’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the May 2018 edition of TMFF.