From director Giulia Gandini comes a short that encapsulates a fear that many of us have faced at least once in our life, and an empowering message that this fear is nothing to be ashamed of.
My Time’s five-minute run follows secondary school student Ava, a twelve-year-old ready to recite her essay on her fictional hero to the rest of her class. Though initially unfazed by the prospect of presentation, panic sets in when Ava realises that the inevitable has happened: she got her first period. Conscious of the fact that she too will have to stand in front of the class and present, Ava attempts to hide the telling stain that has formed on her skirt in any way she can in her constricted environment. But Ava’s time runs thin and her options become more limited by the second, until her time comes, and it is her turn to present.
Gandini packs a punch with her powerful short, expertly crafting a story that makes those of us who have experienced Ava’s exact pain cringe, smile, and panic on her behalf. Yet,Gandini flips the scales on this pivotal coming-of-age event and takes a stance, one that truly shines in the latter half of the short.
To say that our protagonist only has three lines in this feature, Clara Read delivers a mesmerising performance of such an unnecessarily taboo subject. Carrying the story largely with just her own body language, Read flourishes in a highly contrasting yet thorough performance. Starting the film as a keen student, we quickly see her naïve panic as she realises her fate turn into desperation as she is unable to wake her friend, before eventually turning into acceptance as she, and her fellow classmates, realise just what has happened. Though despite Ava’s early fears, Read does not hesitate to help Gandini deliver the message that is so heavily engraved into the bones of My Time. Her performance is innocent and mesmerising, capturing a moment that millions worldwide will have similarly experienced for the first time.
Combined with Read’s performance, Gandini’s direction is exquisitely captured in the film’s short timeframe. Expertly using camera angles and sound to build the tension alongside Read’s youthful performance, Gandini directs us straight into Ava’s thinking and refuses to let us out of it. If Ava is in distress, so are we. If Ava is feeling euphoric, as are we; everything Gandini and the crew has done works with Read to bring Ava’s short-lived panic into an often-lived reality.
My Time’s message is one of resounding clarity, bringing to light a highly topical subject in modern society. Gandini’s choice to depict deliver this message through the eyes of the youth is perfectly apt, inspiring not only young people, but those of older generations who were Ava one day that there is no shame in getting your period. Blood is blood, and honestly, it’ll wash out. It’s natural, and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.
My Time is an almost perfect, if not idyllic, view that empowers people to take charge of their own periods, going from the all-too familiar “Oh shit!” to Ava’s boldly mature “I’m good, thanks.” and becoming their own heroes, or like Ava, their own heroines.
Scr: Giulia Gandini
Cast: Clara Read, Trevor Murphy, Ilirian Bushi, Darcey Denney, Izabella Tipping, Demi Wallace-Orgill, Oliver John Lock
Prd: Abby Mizon
DOP: Gabi Norland
Music: Stefano Fasce
Run time: 5 minutes