Following a tragedy that continues to haunt him, Ben undergoes a new groundbreaking procedure in the experimental short film Velvet Hour.
We have come to the conclusion that “experimental” films can be hit-or-miss. Many film makers try too hard to create something unusual and unique and end up missing the mark; leaving the viewer confused and bewildered. Yet some film makers, like Shireen Vasseghi, manage to create something captivating, dreamy and pure, like Velvet Hour.
Ben (played by Oliver Hall) is haunted and tormented by a personal tragedy – his girlfriend committed suicide after a series of arguments between the two. After waking up from nightmares on a daily basis, Ben travels to France to undergo a revolutionary new procedure that will convert his past memories from sad to happier ones. The film reminded me a little of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from French auteur Michel Gondry, which is an acclaim not to be scoffed at, as the 2004 Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet movie is up there with the very best in cinematic history.
Vasseghi uses some striking imagery to show the metamorphosis that Ben goes through during the procedure – past memories of his time with girlfriend Risa (Naho) intercut with other shots portraying Ben’s inner struggle to cope with the tragedy. The set design, lighting and cinematography are all on point throughout, and it helps us, the viewer, submerge within Ben’s memories in spectacular fashion.
As with most short films that land on our desk here at Screen Critix, Velvet Hour was created with little to no budget, but Vasseghi and her talented group of co-creators have used what little money they had intelligently. The short, looks, sounds and plays out in a truly professional manner that you can’t help but applaud.
To recap, Velvet Hour is a splendid experimental short film and one that deals with grief, loss and the struggle to come out the other side unscathed. Highly recommended.