Cyclamen [Davide Canali, Italy, 2018]


An interesting and gorgeously shot short film, Cyclamen explores what director Davide Canali describes as, “the interaction between the external world, in which [man] moves and relates, and the inner world made of pains, desires and resilience.”


Certainly, as Canali’s camera moves through desolate (but oddly beautiful) locales, the external world seems to be interacting with the internal world of the characters. A theme seems to be depression and how one can become stuck in it. Indeed, at one point, a character walks a circuitous route only to end up right where she started.


The lighting and composition deserve praise, making fantastic use of the film’s black and white colouring and limited locations, making each of them feel creepy and foreboding whilst still being pleasing to look at. The sound design is another strong detail of Cyclamen, the distant wind and the echoing, approaching footsteps of the implacable mashed man are distinctive and unsettling and very much help to build the film’s dark atmosphere.


If there is a criticism to be had of Cyclamen, it is had it is a bit cliché. Metaphors for depression shot in black and white are very much what people think of when they think “short film.” Still, Cyclamen is an example of the old standards done well enough that you don’t mind that you may have seen it before.

'Cyclamen' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.

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