Despite the various social revolutions that marked the passing through modernity, and despite the various laws on the status of women and children in the socio-political kinetics of nowadays culture, the family (the fundamental cell of society itself – as it has been called in countless situations) and the relationships that link the members of the same family units still represent a sensitive issue of the present. ‘My Gift‘ is a short film that cynically explores the dysfunctions of the father-daughter relationship, in order to condemn the psychological deviations that lead to sexual abuse. Developed as a moralizing, sensitizing and informing clip about the inappropriate behaviour of today’s society, Gabriel Lúgigo’s project is also an interesting artistic product that possesses an attractive visual and sound aesthetics, managing, at the same time, to shock and to pleasantly surprise both the ordinary spectator and the passionate cinephile.
Although the daughter celebrates her 16th anniversary with her father, her mood is not as good. In addition, the girl refuses to taste the cake specially prepared for her, being very sad, despite the father’s very jovial attitude and the expensive gift he offers. Not even the man’s silly jokes or the selfie he makes with the girl’s new smartphone cannot convince her to change her attitude. But immediately, we notice the apparently unjustified reason for why the daughter is very circumspect about her father’s reactions: in exchange for the new phone, the father is waiting for his gift and he will come, during that night, to the girl’s room to take it. Suddenly, the atmosphere changes, the father exits the room, but leaves behind him the pulsating tension of an imminent threat. The daughter remains alone, amid the mess of her room, among toys and rumpled sheets, waiting for the night, when she will reward her father for the gift she received for her anniversary.
Counting on a series of ambient sound contrasts and on a suggestive camera motion to change the dramatic tone that conditions the relationship between the father and his daughter, ‘My Gift’ excels through an impressive element of surprise technique that shocks the viewer’s expectations. Director Gabriel Lúgigo succeeds in manipulating the spectators’ perspective, making them initially empathize with the negative character whose dark side they are aware only in the end of the film. Also, beyond the roles successfully played by the two actors, the script contains along the sequential chain a series of lexical and spatial subtleties whose existence the spectators are unaware until they re-view from the beginning this whole film which is entirely based on the well-known looks can be deceiving strategy. Not in the least, although the director’s main purpose is to alert us about the small crimes that are still happening in our own world, the short film ‘My Gift’ is, however, an intense and dense cinematic project that also succeeds both in shocking and touching any audience type.