Lifeline‘ is not just a sensitive short film about the burden of your own existence. It’s also a proof that, to create a powerful movie, you do not need spectacular ornamentation or a very complex script. The project of L. Marcus Williams thus impresses with its extremely well-dosed minimalism, with its almost palpable intimism that allows us to simultaneously enter into the thoughts of two characters confronted with an existential crisis. Likewise, this short film touched us through the intensity of the glazes of two wonderful actors, through the force of the silent moments in which a cry for help inaudibly vibrates, while the protagonists try to understand their own suffering. But, as the protagonists even suggest, the emotional mechanisms that generate the temptation of suicide cannot be explained, and this project doesn’t aim to bring a medical, clinical perspective on depression or either a motivational structure culminating in a celebration of the joy of living. ‘Lifeline’ is a sincere and brutal confession about our inability to choose, even when, apparently, life seems to give us choice. It is precisely this inartificial sincerity defying the optimistic pseudo-discourse of those who pretend to teach us the secrets of happiness that convinced us of the quality of this short film that manages to condense in several minutes two authentic identities any spectator can resonate with.


Abandoned by everyone, Iris decides to call a suicide hotline to say goodbye to someone who can listen to her for at least a few minutes. Thus, she will come into contact with Ray who, in turn, will tell his own story in an attempt to save Iris, and perhaps himself too.


The trenchant narrative simplicity of this film succeeds in disarm any critical view through the pure emotion and the intimist energy of the actors who fill the screen with their faces haunted by the demon of fear and depression. The choice of L. Marcus Williams for a dual and linear chromaticity specific to every character who seems to suggest at the sub-textual level the individual’s inability to truly understand the suffering of the other is complemented by a specific framing that potentiates either the intimate convention of the short film or suggests the strait, the suffocating state of each protagonist faced with the burden of their own existence. Also, the admirable work of the actors who build a painfully recognizable universe, exteriorizing with a striking naturalness a wide range of emotions depicting the valences of inner pain, makes of ‘Lifeline’ an intense and humane short film that fascinated us with its strength and minimalism.


For its emotional intensity rendering the burden of those defeated by life, for its well-balanced minimalism that creates an intimate and recognizable fictional universe, and for the authenticity of the actors who speak with sincerity about the multiple pain valences, ‘Lifeline’ was awarded the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the May 2019 edition of TMFF.