Pieces of You 6
Pieces of You 1
Pieces of You 4
Pieces of You 2
Pieces of You 5
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So, let’s move on to the technical aspects. First, thumbs up for the decision of filming the screenplay with several shots of small durations and different framings and camera positions. The extreme alternative, a lazy one long shot, would condemn the movie to a boring storytelling. Instead, what the direction brings is a fast moving and easy to understand film. And due to this quality, there is no need for dialogues. This whole exercise is commendable, specially for a newcomer director. That’s cinema in its essence.

However, there are some issues that must be pointed out. First, the lighting is not even throughout the whole movie. In fact, using so many different shots becomes a challenge to maintain the same intensity and tone of light and colors. But it is necessary, as the whole script takes place in one scene. As an example, the reverse shot that frames a close up of the sick character (with the light from the window in her back) in the first part is disturbingly different from the previous shots.

Synopsis:

A young woman possesses the ability to manipulate time, but she learns that this gift comes with its consequences when she turns back time to spend more of it with her ailing friend, who is in the throes of chemotherapy. A bittersweet turn of events show her that the present is the most precious time worth keeping, and that she must learn to embrace the natural, unperturbed passage of time and evolve with it.

Cast: Melissa Solis, Nadia Matar

A metaphoric story with a thought-provoking message finds a perfect herald in the short film format. Usually, shorts are more suitable than feature films for this purpose, as they do not have to make up parallel lines of narrative and build interesting characters. Instead, the focus of the screenplay is all in communicating the message. That is what we see in Pieces of You, which brings up the lesson that we cannot mess with the natural progression of time, as the outcome itself is inevitable. As living beings, we all have a cycle to complete, and death is the end. Reinforcing this idea there is the accessory element of the puzzle, which is completed in the conclusion. Concerning the content, Pieces of You effectively delivers.

Assistant DirectorEvan Biscow

Cinematography by: Manuela Romero

The acting is good, both actresses deliver a convincing performance. They have no dialogue, which can be both easier and challenging. Memorizing and saying the lines naturally in the appropriate tone is not simple. But also communicating non-verbally what you feel is also (or even more) a difficult task. 

So, as a work from a director in development, Pieces of You is a valid experience. If there are points to be improved, they come up because the filmmaker challenged herself, for instance, by filming with various shots and not only one single take, which would be the easier but less appealing way to do it. The building of a style comes from the minds that take risks.  

Written & Produced by: Keya Shirali

There are problems also in the detail shots of the alarm clock. One of them is that the reflection on the glass seems to capture the camera operator (maybe not, but that is the impression it gives, which is enough reason to avoid it). Another issue is in the montage of shots of the alarm clock showing that the time is passing – the clock changes its place, and this should not happen, not only for the sake of being perfectionist, but because it is distracting. 

The same distracting effect happens because of the set decoration. Probably the rooms used for the filming are captured as they were used by the dwellers, a decision made to show authenticity, maybe. However, it is also distracting. Take for example the many shoes in the corridor in the background in the last scene (which also could be avoided by keeping it out of focus – nevertheless, a concern about set decoration would be the best solution).

Last, when the young woman walks for the first time to the room where the clocks are, the following shot is awkward. That’s because the camera films her coming towards the lens, from the opposite side from where she moved in the previous shot. In this case, it would be more fluid if the camera was positioned next to the door that she crosses.

Pieces of You

2023, USA, 5 min

Directed by:  Keya Shirali

Eduardo Kaneco

Film Critic, the founder of Leitura Filmica