There are certain films that impress not by their story, but by their atmosphere that transcends words. ‘Frigid‘ is such an experimental short film that looks like an instrumental music video, while depicting the mood of a girl trying to shatter the boundaries of a suffocating space. Oliver Ward opts for the structure of a project conceived as a melancholic flow of images in which he captures the opposition between the cloistered state of the protagonist and the feeling of a total, almost imponderable liberation. Without giving his short film a concrete narrative outline, the director invites the viewer not necessarily to an exercise in fictional reconstruction of the protagonist’s personal story, but to a delicate sensory experience. Thus, the female character around which this project is built can be perceived as a universal hypostasis, as a metaphorical materialization of a state of mind with which each of those faced with the recent and current experience of the lockdown will resonate. More precisely, the director suggests on the basis of a suite of oppositions (interior / exterior, stillness / dance, cloister / freedom) the lively impulse of a soul in search of a way to escape.

 

The captivity the protagonist experiences can take any form in the viewer’s imagination (depression, self-isolation, illness, complexes, etc.), while the natural landscapes she “conquers” through her fluid choreographic movements seem rather a fictional projection of her intimate aspirations. The absence of dialogue thus contributes to increasing the suggestiveness of this cinematic reverie, freeing the viewer from the constraints of a rigid action. Oliver Ward practices here a stylistic of evanescence, giving the image the grace, transparency and charm of a dreamlike experience, without the substance of the short film taking on attributes of surrealism. On the contrary, the director is passionate about the cinematic mechanisms that can extract from the natural gestures or from the beauty of landscapes the poetic essence of an ordinary day. But this poetry is not always calm, meditative, temperate, it can also be aggressive and explosive. As a consequence, ‘Frigid’ is an emotional crescendo that captures the metamorphoses of a person confronted with the spatial and mental limits of their own universe, but also with the “unbearable lightness of being”, with the total freedom of their own imagination.

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