There are few short films that manage as well as ‘The Widow‘ to create such a strong main character. Obviously, not only the complexity of the story or the talent of the main actress are the only qualities of the project signed by Brendan Young, but also the narrative substance condensing a kind of mythological space, both familiar and strange, populated by beings on the border between gods and demons. However, we are not talking about a project that goes beyond realism, but about that “mythological” atmosphere similar to Coppola’s mafia universe where the characters have the appearance of forces of nature. Thus, at a superficial glance, this short film doesn’t go beyond the general lines of a film about the mafia and revenge; still, its composition pushes the prototypes to a special level of refinement, maintaining at the same level both the tension of the action and the solemn poeticism of the black and white image on which a series of great, constructive and destructive, passions are developed. At the same time, the director’s decision to create a female protagonist who shines through her inner energy in the midst of a toxic patriarchal society responds to needs of a cinematography oversaturated by the “man’s world” scenarios. As a consequence, the personal drama intertwines with the condition of the woman in a world of abuses of power, in a universe of toxic masculinity where compromises become the only form of survival, while the pact with the devil becomes a form to preserve a human core.
The main character, Luisa, is thus caught in a network of conflicts and destructive ambitions, wanting, on the one hand, to overcome her condition and, on the other hand, to keep her own emotional integrity intact. The passing passions and the survival instinct make Luisa both a victim and a daring fighter, having all the necessary inner resources to be able to assert herself in a world of extreme violence. Without being a project that addresses the cliché of the redemptive “messianic” hero, Brendan Young’s short film depicts a corrupt, vicious world, building in a realistic key a character who realizes that the only way to survive is to fight enemies with their own weapons. It is difficult, therefore, to apply a very restrictive filter such as protagonist-antagonist, since, just like the chromatic strategy used by the director, the innocence of certain characters is always overshadowed by dark spots. ‘The Widow’ is nevertheless an extremely well-run project that builds a memorable protagonist and promises a complex and impactful future feature film.
For the solemnity of the visual construct created with a photographic sensitivity, for the coherence of the fictional universe that outlines a strong and obsessive protagonist, but also for the talent of the actors who manage to enliven this world as violent as it is fascinating, ‘The Widow’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the August 2020 edition of TMFF.