Light and darkness, calm and shrill, friendship and hate, glamor and blood. There are a lot of contrasts in ‘Scarlett‘, one of the most vibrant and unpredictable short films we have had in our festival, in which Tahraoui Sarah creates a drama-thriller “on the road” that approaches the friendship and emotional symbiosis between three young women. Indeed, a more demanding viewer may notice a lack of more elaborate details that differentiate the motivations and psychology of the three protagonists, since the characters act like a three-headed hydra to achieve the same thing. And yet this not a disturbing aspect in the overall structure of the project, which, at the same time, has the potential to become a feature at least as remarkable.
In fact, in its current form, the short film maintains its energy through alertness and narrative spontaneity, combining Gaspar Noé’s chromatic or musical obsessions with the etheric atmosphere and slow-motion movements of a fashion clip. Likewise, the director’s aim in finding the formula for a complex and contrasting movie in which the photographic aesthetics of the frames capturing the elegance of bodies that emanate eroticism is counterpointed by bloody flashes or shocking confessions denouncing physical and sexual abuse brings a plus to the whole reception. Basically, as a film with a feminist stake (without falling, however, within the parameters of an aggressive inconsistent militancy) that meets the demands of a vendetta calculated by the three “diaboliques”, the project signed by Tahraoui Sarah impresses with a magnetic cinematography, both dark and bright, alert and statuary. These stylistic preoccupations manage to provide a special refinement, taking to another level the narrative core that, normally, would have been approached through a rough or dirty realism: three friends try to find a way to overcome the traumas caused by abusive men, responsible for some monstrous acts. The director’s courage convinces her, however, to overcome these stereotypes, managing to create from ‘Scarlett’ an unpredictable and spectacular project, which we hope will soon become a feature film that will totally charm us.
For its versatility and stylistic coherence, as well as for its captivating dynamism that pushes a vendetta to another level of refinement, ‘Scarlett’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the November 2020 edition of TMFF.