Ophelia is a short film which tells the story of a woman attending an interview and her inner experience of that event. The unsettling tone of the film is established from the opening shot, a smartly dressed Ophelia walks slowly down a dilapidated corridor as ominous voices mutter in the background. There is a feeling that everything is not quite as it should be, this continues with the unusual dress of the interviewers, the disused industrial room in which the interview takes place and the combative dialogue.

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The film captures the anxiety a person feels when attending an interview and director Anthony Garland creates a heightened reality to communicate this to the audience. Interviews are designed to be exposing and to disarm the interviewees, this pressure is sharply conveyed by the film.  The interviewers are presented in judgement of Ophelia and the interview is a constantly shifting struggle for power. At different moments the dominant side are shown fully dressed and the submissive side shown undressed which is effective although a little heavy-handed.

Ophelia is made with skill, it is however limited by its short running time and is overly theatrical in its approach. Ali Mueller convinces in the lead role and all the other actors give capable performances within their brief screen time. Sex, self harm and childhood trauma are all hinted at but frustratingly there is no time for further exploration of these interesting issues. It will be exciting to see what Anthony Garland can do with a longer film which will provide him more time to tackle the themes he is interested in. The film is a competent examination of the difference between what we wish to present to the world and what is really going on inside us all.

 

3/5

Dir: Anthony Garland
Scr: Anthony Garland
Cast: Ali Mueller, Mary Pat Gleason, Alan Blumenfeld, Larry Cedar and Mia Komsky.
Prd: Ali Mueller, Marten Eckerstrom, Chris Sibley and Drew Van Wyk.
DOP: Daniel Katz
Music: Erick Del Aguila
Country: U.S.
Year: 2016
Running Time: 8 mins

Ophelia screened at the LA Shorts Fest on 1st September.