Alex and Sophia look back on an 11-month whirlwind romance full of memories of love, laughter, joy, and pain. This is Screen Critix review of writer/director Andres Ramirez’s romantic drama Frame.
“What is the frame rate of a memory?”
That is the question posed by Andres Ramirez’s romantic drama Frame. As the short film opens we are thrown into the middle of a blossoming relationship between two people, Marcelo Gonzalez’s Alex and Bailey Colors’ (here credited as Bailey Olsen) Sophia. They are young, happy, and obviously in love, but almost immediately we cut to a saddened Alex sat all alone on a park bench clutching a photograph of Sophia. For whatever reason, this burgeoning relationship hasn’t worked and we are thrown this curveball within the first 60 seconds of this lovingly crafted short film. Continuing in voice-over, Alex goes on to explain that the standard frame rate for movies is 24 Frames per second (FPS) and how our human brain reads those seconds to see this movement on the screen. He then breaks down his and Sophia’s 11-month relationship into seconds – 28 million and 930 thousand to be exact which, times 24 works out as 694 million and 320 thousand frames. With the use of a simple but very effective musical score and flashbacks to fill in some blanks, we explore the memories that this couple has shared over the past year.
The interesting thing about Frame is, even with all of the technical talk about frame rates, time, and memory, the short itself is filmed with the use of Super 8 film technology. Steven Spielberg has often attributed his career to his childhood use of Super 8 cameras and film, it was an innovative format that made it easier than ever to shoot movies at home. Ramirez uses it here to great effect as it helps the audience to automatically think about the past and recall similar times in their own lives. The sound effects also help to engage us with the constant clicking of the film turning over in the background adding to the overall feeling that this film has some age behind it. The use of choppy edits and some special visual effects also help to increase the atmosphere of the piece. The sounds reminding us instantly of old home movie-making techniques, while the images are just what you would expect memories to be made of.
A film like Frame can supply two kinds of pleasures; those caused when it follows the rules of romantic movies and those created when it breaks them. Ramirez’s writing and direction construct the film lovingly according to the rules. A young good looking young couple, full of energy and life, enjoy each other’s company; sharing loving moments and memories only to be pulled apart at a crucial moment. Each of these beats is observed by Ramirez, but he adds a nice touch in not allowing the audience off the hook.
Ramirez is also good with his actors, coaxing naturally truthful performances from both Gonzalez and Colors; there is genuine chemistry between the two characters and they both have a real likeability. We believe they are in love, we believe in their relationship and more importantly, we believe in their characters. The short is 7 ½ minutes long which our protagonist Alex would say works out at 450 seconds and when you times that by 24 it comes to 10800 frames.
Each of those seconds helps to make Frame a sound and entertaining love story between a couple who feel so real you desperately want them to succeed but are involved in an ending that is so real you desperately wish it wasn’t.