Short Film Review “Dichotomy”



First, the Recap:

Polarity. Contrast. Division. Contrariety. All terms that can signal a split, whether it be between cultures, traditions, families, friends, religions, or even within ourselves. When we are faced with such realizations that we don’t always desire to explore, the ultimate willingness to find a way towards the needed inner reconciliation, while potentially painful, can truly bring healing. Take as an example one individual named Jane (Noelle Messier). She’s gay, she knows it, and most likely so does everyone else she considers close friends. Yet, on this particular day, a battle is about to be waged, and two opposite factions residing inside her will challenge the notions of what makes her who she is. Of course, shaving her head starts things off.

As Jane gazes at her new, seriously shortened quaff, she then proceeds to playfully dabble with a smidgeon of eyeliner than soon turns into a very spontaneous make-up job all over her face. Smiling, posing, snarling gleefully in light mockery, Jane then enters into a jovial parley with herself, complete with the thematic delivery and demonstrative demeanor taken directly from a very popular film series. It’s a verbal conflict that takes on both aspects of her being, both feminine and masculine, one being the lighter self and the other borderline monstrous, each side “fighting” for dominance in her mind and actions. As the encounter moved forward, it soon culminates in a huge moment of revelation where she finds release in seeing her humanity beyond her sexual identity.

Next, my Mind:

As this reviewer has commented about in the past, there are certain overall themes that aren’t my usual choice to cover, with zero malice towards anyone at all, just simple, personal preference.  But, there have been those certain films whose narratives involve characters of an alternative lifestyle that have genuinely surprised me. This 11-minute short film from director/editor Yannis Zafeiriou can now be counted among those few. Delivering an engaging, well-written, deeply genuine, and candidly emotional narrative combined with it’s one-setting, character-centric, smoothly shot visual delivery, the effort honestly soars beyond the overall nature of sexuality and delves more so into the very core of inner warfare that any of us could face when it comes to trying to ascertain exactly who we are in the eyes of ourselves, society at large, even the world. What makes this film even more unique and flat out entertaining is the genius utilization of a famous film series’ character to become the basis for Jane’s monologue, making it equally hilarious, sincere and soul-stirring, and a bit mad to watch unfold. No matter your beliefs about alternative lifestyles, this is a story about self-discovery as a human being.

Messier, who also served as producer on the project, is an absolute treasure in her role as Jane, a gay woman finally realizing she has some issues to discuss with herself and hence put some inward storms to rest once and for all. Watching how innocently it all starts via choosing to shave her head, to the haphazard application of eyeliner, to the ensuing “confrontation” which occurs, it’s a fantastically grounded argument she encounters, with all the other frolicsome, even mischievous, moments intermixed throughout it all. But it is the integrity and openness on display with Jane’s character that Messier embodies so well, whether portraying subtle pauses or overt exuberance, and it is pure joy to witness. Facial expression and body language reigns here as well, again superbly enacted by the actress.  A supporting turn appears in the form of actor Mark Deliman as Jane’s apparent roommate Gary who has a wonderfully silly moment in t he proceedings that seems to indicate this type of quirky behavior in the bathroom from Jane might not be as uncommon as we might think.

In total, with its tongue firmly in cheek while also showcasing a relevant and heartfelt message about how we see ourselves and the need sometimes to deal with said self, “Dichotomy” stands as an excellent example of indie short film creativity and execution that fully entertains while managing to both poke fun at and draw attention to those chasms, whether self-made or dictated by society, that stand in the way of the wondrous mortals we truly are.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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