It is difficult to accept this, but the dreams of the human soul are not always a territory inhabited by colourful and harmless fantasies. Placed on the fragile line between desire and obsession, ‘Crush‘ is a short film that renders a series of harsh and sensitive issues defining both the profile of an individual tormented by inferiority complexes who is rejected by the demands of her social groups, as well as the limits of tolerance that others must adopt facing such a person. Without approaching aesthetic cinematic mechanisms to attenuate or exaggerate the emotional impact of the fictional universe described, Rebecca Gosnell’s project depicts in an alert and extremely realistic manner the emotional transitions of a teenager who faces her own disapproval by her own colleagues, retreating into sexual fantasies focused on a man who tried to accept her as she is. Though this short film doesn’t amount to the thriller-like psychoses described in ‘Fatal Attraction’, or to the naive love story pattern like in ‘La Belle Personne’, ‘Crush’ is a complex and uncomfortable artistic product that genuinely plays the loss of contact with reality of an individualistic and isolated in compensatory projections generation, at the limit with madness.
Sarah is a shy schoolgirl who is abused by the social environment of the institution where she studies, getting attached to the new dramatic art teacher who is trying to give her an inner balance. Gradually, however, Mr. Andrews’s attention begins to be received by Sarah in a distorted way, until the girl gets to follow his teacher’s Facebook activity to find out more about his private space. Thus, she observes that Mr. Andrews is in a stable relationship that Sarah tries to compromise one evening when she follows the two while dining in a restaurant.
Realistically exploring the premises of an erotomania crisis, director Rebecca Gosnell portrays a turbulent protagonist who, running away from reality, takes shelter in the compensatory universe of some sexual chimeras. Although the surface layer of the epic thread seems to draw an isolated case, a relatively rare pathology among younger generations, the filmmaker conceals in the subtext a slightly moralizing dimension, approaching a real scourge spread, especially in the Anglo-American space. Without adopting a happy ending that would have reduced this cinematic product to a militant parable about the limits of perception of reality, the eventuality of the cyclicality that Rebecca Gosnell adopts suggests the persistence of such a dysfunctional attitude. The ending of this short film is just the beginning of a new obsession, of a new drama about the fear of solitude, about the fear of refusal, and about the inability of the individual to accept himself / herself. Using a series of technical strategies that complement Sarah’s feelings (the soundtrack that shows the crescendo of frustration the protagonist faces, or the frames illustrating the protagonist’s inability to love and to be loved), ‘Crush’ is an uncomfortable and violently lucid cinematic product about the daily madness, but also about the need to rethink the limits of tolerance in a world that has lost its sense of reality.
For the hardness and the frankness by which it renders the inner struggle of an individual who is confronted with the feeling of absolute dispossession, for the accuracy of the typology of a turbulent individual who is isolated from reality in destructive erotic chimeras, ‘Crush’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the January 2018 edition of TMFF.