Film Festival & Photography Contest
In general, Decisions reveals a director who knows how to work both on classical and modern cinema, but who would improve with the awareness in always bearing in mind the preference for the visual communication and the importance of speeding up the rhythm when necessary. Also, the theme is universal, so it doesn’t need to be so literally exposed.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has taught us some lessons. And the plot of the short movie Decisions not only brings up one of them but uses it as the turning point for its protagonist. As it shows us, it is because of the quarantine times that she truly understands the sacrifice her husband’s job as a seaman forces him to endure. His work demands him to stay away from his home and his beloved ones for months. Definitely not an easy task. This situation is smoothly worked out as the core of the narrative, in fact it is enough to justify the film.
As of its main theme, that is questioning what are the most important values of one’s life, Decisions deals with it directly, literally asking through the characters lines: “Is it worth to spend your life for money?”. By the way, there are quite too many dialogues in the movie. And this choice for words instead of images to communicate them ends up weakening the message. After all, if the questioning rises in the viewer’s mind through the story it becomes more involving.
Cast: Meletis Fourountzidis, Lena Mandanisioti, Pavlos Drakontaeidis
The movie opens with the dinner scene that causes a positive impact concerning the director’s work. There are two couples arguing, each pair facing the other on each side of the table. Following the classical cinema assembly, there are many shot/reverse shots, and also an extreme close-up of the protagonist’s hand squeezing discreetly the leg of his husband to control his temper. Although the dialogues in this scene again are the most important resource to tell the narrative, here we see a balance between spoken and visual communication. Similarly, we find this same classical direction done as effectively in other scenes throughout the movie, but we also see some variations.
A young woman, obsessed with success, stays home because of Coronavirus measures. Her breakdown will make her question her basic values, “Is it worth to spend your life for money?".
For instance, in the second scene the director chooses to film it with handheld camera, long shots and fewer cuts. The camera is no longer invisible, as it is not in the scene where the protagonist talks on the phone and jump-cuts speed up the conversation. Contrary to the first scene, these are examples in the movie of directing outside the classic cinema limits. Kudos for the director, as these daring resources are justified because they are used for the narrative.
However, same audacity is absent in the sequences that describes the lonely routine of the quarantine times. Maybe in the next decade or more, these long scenes may be helpful for those who have never gone through this restriction, but for today’s viewers they are overwhelming. Not only have we already experienced these difficult times in person, we also were forced to watch several movies and series filmed within these restrictive conditions. So we really are not welcoming more of these in today’s productions. Surely, they are necessary because they represent the turning point for the protagonist, but a resumed version of it would be preferred.
Written & Produced by: Meletis Fourountzidis
Among these sequences, there is one that we need to talk about. It is the one where the protagonist has a group meeting with coworkers. As we can only see and hear her on the screen it feels too artificial. If we could at least listen to the voices of the other participants in the meeting, it would be more convincing and less demanding for the actress.
2023, Greece, 30 min
Directed by: Meletis Fourountzidis
Film Critic, the founder of Leitura Filmica