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Dream [Nikolas Kasinos, Cyprus, 2021]

Dream is a documentary short that films a snippet of the life of the director’s grandmother. The whole film is an interview with Chrystalla, who tells some traumatic and joyful stories of her life in her home in Cyprus. The themes of memory and life are tackled in this short.

Dream is completely carried by the sheer charisma of Chrystalla. She’s not the most bombastic or exaggerated character you’ll ever see in a documentary, but she’s such a warm and comforting presence that her talking will take you all the way through this film. It’s very much like sitting with your own grandmother and listening to her talk. There are many scenes of Chrystalla simply eating or dancing, which are very wholesome and sweet. The stories that Chrystalla shares vary from being very nice to quite horrific as she describes being hospitalised by her then husband.

However, Dream does suffer a bit with pacing. The director does let his grandma mumble a bit and talk about things that aren’t very interesting. The way it’s all edited together is slightly arbitrary and much of it doesn’t flow well. One moment Chrystalla will be talking about abuse, then she’ll be dancing. The documentary could also have done with more shot variety. The whole film is just variations of shots looking at Chrystalla and then every so often some establishing shots of her surroundings. A lot of Chrystalla’s stories could have done with some illustrations, maybe just some old pictures of the people involved edited together or by being completely animated. There isn’t even any music to accompany what she’s saying.

Dream is a lovely and wholesome documentary that serves as a fitting short biography and memorial for Chrystalla. Sadly though, a lot more effort and thought would have made it much more emotional.


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