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The Funeral [Sara Eustáquio, Portugal, 2020]

The Funeral is a short film about youth, anxiety, and the depression that follows in its wake. It depicts four young people sitting on a roof drinking without a care in complete silence. The majority of the film is spent in the main character’s head as she laments about her life and desires, dubbing this gathering as her metaphorical funeral. One does get a sense that this individual is somewhat disenfranchised and is searching for a purpose. Her inner thoughts last the entirety of the film and are reasonably well written, and the performance that’s given sounds appropriately bored and purposeless.

The short manages to create a really great atmosphere with the clearly small budget it has at its disposal. The roof the characters sit on feels very isolated and gloomy, paralleling the mindsets of those drinking there, whilst the dream sequences are simultaneously sinister and jubilant, all filmed with a bright red filter and hazy lens.

The Funeral could, however, have done with being a bit longer. We certainly get what the main character is feeling, but the other three teens are relegated to the background, and never truly get a sense of who these people are, although it could arguably be a reflection of the main character’s attitude towards them. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the film would surely have been enriched by a further exploration of what the wants and needs of everyone sitting and drinking longingly into the night.

The Funeral isn’t quite as profound as it wants to be and tries a bit too hard to be a youthful and female-centric version of Taxi Driver [Martin Scorsese, USA, 1976]. But it is, nonetheless, an interesting watch and a good showcase of directing and cinematography on a shoestring budget.


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