Caecilia (2017)

A blind girl is found near a monastery’s grounds and brought in so she can survive. As she adapts to her new home, something dark and dangerous is attracted to her location.

In director Gabriel Gettman’s short, careful directing with strong writing create an impact comparable with a feature film. With a ton of details and a clear love for the subject, Gettman creates a fully immersive world for the characters he brings on screen. His attention to detail and talent are on full display here, he shows how apt he is at storytelling and makes filming a period piece look easy.

The cast is led by actress Samantha Dakin as the titular character. As a seemingly mute young woman, Dakin takes the character and imbues her with personality and emotions that come out through facial expressions and body language. Caecilia’s relationship with those around her as well as something possibly supernatural in her come together to create a fully fleshed character, which Dakin takes and adds nuance and feeling to, making it her own. Her performance is the grounding one of the film and grabs the viewer’s attention quickly and never lets it go. The rest of the cast is composed of George Anton, Jane Wood, and Gary Faulkner, all giving quality performances. As an ensemble, this cast prices that simpler is better.

As the lead is mute, the music and visuals for this short are of utmost importance. The score by John White brings a powerful musical element to the story while movement director Fionn Cox-Davies creates a flow for the cast that looks almost like a ballet. Their work paired together creates a way for the film to move and for the viewer to be moved by what is on screen. Taking this movement and giving it a stage is the cinematography by director of photography Phil Morton. Here Morton frames the scenes and gives them the room to shine. Adding to all of this are the decors and costumes which meticulously recreate the era the film takes place in. Between each of these aspects, a fantastic attention to details comes through and makes a truly special film.

Caecilia is a carefully-crafted short film that looks absolutely beautiful with an inherent sadness and some definitive sadness. Everything brought onto the screen is paid particular attention to by the artists behind them, from the performances to the costumers and decors, to the cinematography to the music and everything else, it all comes together in a calculated symphony of images and sounds that transports the viewer to the works that is Caecilia’s.