Sunday Short Film: Nine Behind
Kicking off our first short film section, we have Canadian filmmaker Sophy Romvari's Nine Behind, a tightly-controlled exploration of emotional and spatio-temporal displacements both, as a young woman (Noémi Fabian) makes a long-delayed phone call to her grandfather in Hungary, from which her parents are implied to have fled during the Soviet era.
Romvari unpeels the space of the Nora's apartment over the course of eleven carefully composed shots, weighing out time in measured spoonfuls of increasing size; the distended apprehension of the difficult call in the opening few minutes giving way to self-forgetting ellipsis (in a neat transition the sparse monochrome helps to sell) as Nora is caught up in the painful undertow of lost time.
By withholding close-ups until late in the game, Romvari also allows the environment to take on a greater expressivity, with equal life given to Nora's library of cinema books, the empty phone dock and wall paintings which increasingly seem to externalise the unspoken parts of a conversation that remains, for us, one-sided.
It's a watch that requires a little patience but, thanks to a graceful marriage of form to an honest and resonant concept, one that rewards time and attention.
Written & Directed by Sophy Romvari
Starring Noémi Fabian
Produced by Adam Cook
Cinematography by Devan Scott
Edited by Will Ross
About the author
Ryan Hogan is a writer and filmmaker, with a focus on screenwriting, based in East London. He has also written for Bright Wall/Dark Room and the International Moving Image Society.
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