#3 Narrative Traditions II

The short film that caught my attention was the Small Deaths movie. For the first minute or so I didn’t understand they were even speaking English, they had such heavy accents. I also believed the short film was an anthology of stories not relating to one another until the end credits rolled and said different actresses for Ann-Marie, the main character. In the first “act”, titled “Small Deaths,” a very young Ann Marie sings and plays during her last few minutes before bed as her mother brushes her father’s hair, who is about to be going out. I couldn’t understand why he was leaving, but as he exits the house, he doesn’t say whether he would or wouldn’t be back that night when asked. Anne Marie stares at the doorway where her father was just a moment ago. In the second “act,” titled “Holy Cow” Anne Marie and her sister play in the fields. Several other children play as well, separately. As she and her sister walk through the foliage, Anne Marie sees a fatally injured cow- assumed to be the aftermath of the young boys’ cruel games. She looks onto the cow as it passes. The third “act,” titled “Joke,” shows a young adult, disheveled Anne Marie kissing a young man in a stairway. They separate and he goes upstairs, then immediately calls for her. She shows some resistance to the call but eventually goes upstairs to sees a woman appearing to have overdosed, surrounded by other men. They yell at Anne Marie to call an ambulance as she stares at the woman. Eventually she moves, and the men and woman all start to laugh at Anne Marie. She leaves the room and pauses at the top of the stares. A baby starts to cry. The young man from the beginning moves past Anne Marie and down the stairs, and she follows him shortly after.

To me, this short film seems to be about Anne Marie’s life and her experiences with very heavy topics. She seems to be the type of person who simply freezes when faced with, for lack of a better word, an uncomfortable situation. As a child, every emotion feels so big because we haven’t had the chance to have such big feelings yet. As Anne Marie looks at the doorway in “Small Deaths,” it strikes me as feeling lonely. Her eyes say, Why did Pa leave? But she can’t do anything about it. “Holy Cow” has a feeling of helplessness, and perhaps a loss of innocence. Suddenly faced with the cruelty of the world and other people. The cow didn’t deserve that, but all Anne Marie can do is watch. “Joke” shows Anne Marie caught up with the wrong crowd, people who humiliate her for fun. Who fakes an overdose to prank someone? It’s sick. I get a feeling of not belonging and remembering the finality of death. Also, Anne Marie seems to be surrounded by people who just don’t care. Her mother didn’t ask more questions to the father who may or may not return that night, her sister didn’t seem to be interested in acknowledging the dying cow, her assumed lover didn’t care their acquaintances were making fun of Anne Marie. The film is heavy. It’s not meant to make you feel good. It’s showing what life can be, and surely is, for some.

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