This film review originally appeared on theutahfilmawards.com.
Indelible Winter, a Film By Ann Huang
If you like experimental short films that are poetic in some sense, then Indelible Winter is exactly for you. It’s short film which offers a variety of images that blend with the editing and overall structure of the piece. Each sequence this short focuses on has imagery that is subjective and up for interpretation, by the viewer, to decide what is being said as the voice overs overlay the montage of images.
To tell you what this is exactly about, I wouldn’t know how to properly convey the overall message, which isn’t a bad thing as it forces us to question what we witnessed. Although it’s not as surreal – meaning over the top – as a lot of experimental shorts tend to be, it does offer a lot of questionable (and interesting) shots that feel dreamy in a way. Those moments are what really pushes this film forward. It forces us to dive deeper into the narrative that’s being spoken and at times that narration contradicts what we see on screen, which adds more to the substance of being subjective and dream-like. How many times have we woken up from a dream, confused by the meaning because of the images not aligning with what we felt? For me, that made this piece stand out even more.
I’ve already mentioned the editing, but I think it’s worth doubling down on, because for me that’s what stood out the most. There are images that are repeated and they skip frames to give the structure a jagged feel, which replicates how dreams are often times structured. That’s when it becomes the most surreal is when this becomes a structure that forces us to decipher the meaning. There are moments when the subjects are in reverse and overall it really does feel justified due to the symbols provided throughout. The more the images repeat in this film, the more I feel like they mean something to the overall story – that could be just my interpretation though.
One thing I would have liked more of is the variety of shots to add to the surrealism of the piece. All the images are upright and it seems the camera only pans from left to right. There’s rarely any “interesting” angles to add to the story and I feel like if they even placed the camera at a dutch angle or completely upside down it would have felt even more like a dream. In that sense, it felt static and emotionless. If there were even more shots that contradicted the narration and felt “out of place” that could add more to the dream-effect the filmmakers were aiming for – they have some of those moments and those were some of my favorites as they forced me to really think outside the box.
Overall, I enjoyed trying to piece together the narration. It was like picking apart somebody’s subconscious and trying to decipher their internal thought process. With the editing missing frames as a stylized choice and the subtext found within sequence, I felt like this could have easily been based off of a real dream, and perhaps it was! I am curious to see what others will get out of this as I’m sure their interpretation will differ from mine. In the end, that’s what really makes this short film fun.