Rose [Edwin Miles, UK, 2018]
Rose is unlike the vast majority of short films that reach the festival screens. It does not have a particular plot, it is not heavily stylised and it does not try to squeeze huge lumps of significance into too short a space. Instead, it is a deeply personal love letter from a grandson to his grandmother. Focusing on household chores, candid photos and mortality, this short film stands out with its candid approach and unveiled affection.
What really comes through is the touching attentiveness of the filmmaker to his subject. As we follow Rose through some of the more ordinary activities of life, Miles’ presence behind the camera becomes more and more evident. Whilst the making of a bed or clearing out of a cupboard won’t fill seats at your nearest IMAX, that he is there, and that he is so interested in his grandmother is lovely to watch.
The beautiful photos of Rose that intersperse the filmed scenes enhance this sense of dedication. Again, Miles chooses to focus on everyday occupations and, by doing so, he captures some of the loveliness that is perhaps unnoticeable outside of a photo. One highlight is a black and white close up of her hands as she washes dishes, as it is relatable to the kinds of memories we have of loved ones: fragmented, banal and yet beautiful.
A major flaw of many short films is that they are too overtly staged and too scrupulously scripted. Rose escapes these common pitfalls with home video style scenes and unwritten conversations taking place. Rose’s voiceover becomes increasingly more gripping as she talks about death and illness. Her acceptance of mortality and her gratefulness for her life is truly inspirational, and far more engaging than many pre-prepared scripts. Although one or two scenes verge on being too banal, this unfiltered look at life allows Rose’s natural elegance and warmth to shine through.
'Rose' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.