Sylvia, written and directed by Richard Prendergast, is a delicate and powerfully composed reflection on a young woman’s memory. The short film starts off with a loving and cheerful family setting off for a fun family road trip through the English countryside, the real meaning of the story becomes clear only in the last scenes of the film.
A young woman, her mother, and two daughters sing along to the radio, bicker over spilled juice and stop for ice cream. The story is masterfully developed with the effective use of voiceover and breathtaking cinematography. The voiceover sets the tone and explains the meaning of the beloved family car – Sylvia – an old Opel Senator that now is on its way to new owners with a secret letter hidden in the glove compartment.
The narrative and the build-up of the story is carefully crafted, and the foreshadowing of the end only becomes evident when the final titles are rolling down the screen. The piece was made by ultimate industry professionals and has won multiple awards all across the world. Prendergast’s screenplay is based on a true story and written with the consent of all people involved.
There is something universally powerful in the narrative that makes it easy to reach anyone who watches it. Essentially it is simple to understand – I’m sure we all remember the car our family had when we were children and the memories that are permanently attached to the hours spent on the road with our loved ones. It’s always hard to let go, I suppose, it’s in human nature to attach memories to inanimate objects. For most of us, the letting go isn’t as hard as for the protagonist of Sylvia, compellingly portrayed by Jolie Lennon.
Sylvia ticks all the boxes of a great short film from a defined storyline to sharp direction, and to top it all off is an unforgettable emotional rollercoaster.
Dir: Richard Prendergast
Scr: Richard Prendergast
Cast: Jolie Lennon, Benjamin Hartley, Gaynor Fraser, Mick Fryer-Kelsey, Willow Major
Prd: Andrew Buckley
DOP: Rowan Biddiscombe
Run time: 17 mins