Cry takes its viewers on an emotionally fraught and, at times, highly uncomfortable journey through the lives of a young couple, grieving for their child taken by stillbirth. The short lurches between startling, euphoric fantasy moments and those of sickening nightmare. As the viewer follows the traumatic and rocky emotional recovery of the father, Andrew, the viewer is presented with a film that has a technical approach, which is both stark and bold.
The colouring is like something out of a Sunday afternoon’s game of candy crush, the viewer experiencing Andrew and Ella’s domestic bliss, quite literally through rose-tinted lenses. After the death of their child however, the colour palette shifts to cold blues, driving home the grieving mother’s crushing depressive state. This rich colour scheme is mirrored in the sound design, which is best described as ‘sickeningly effective’. The score lilts along like it belongs to an episode of Teletubbies [UK, 1997-2001], and straddles the line of crossing over into poor-taste, without ever falling guilty of doing so.
Some really strong filmmaking nuances are exhibited midway through proceedings, when Andrew comes horrifyingly close to abducting another man’s child in a park, before holding himself back at the last moment. As Andrew runs away, we receive only fleeting, blurry, photographic images of the streets he passes. In his vulnerable emotional state, it is as if Andrew is barely able to compute and process the traumatic events that are unfurling around him. This approach is highly creative, and adds some well appreciated variety to the short.
Cry is a short that lays traumatic events and their emotional and psychological repercussions hauntingly bare. Frequently, it threatens to overplay itself, with moments that are borderline garish (for example the title card font) but, inevitably, at the last moment, it always manages to pull itself back, and deliver a story that is both blunt yet balanced.
‘Cry’ was part of the Official Selection and winner of an Audience Award at Short Focus Film Festival 2019.