Short Film Review “Grey”



First, the Recap:

Dissimilarity. Variance. Disparity. Imbalance. Worlds seem to collide when there’s a noticeable variation between the elements involved, a clashing of notions, ideals, and actions related to a conflicting sense of what is and is not right or wrong when it comes to how we see each other as human beings. Yet, in the middle of such internal and external struggle, is there still not an equilibrium to be reached? A look through the eyes of two contrasting forces exploring this separation, via the Man of the Black Void (Kevin Navia) and the Girl of the White Void (Kiomi Pyke), is what unfolds as concepts and perceptions are put to the test.

At first, there seems to be nothing but a strong-willed, binding chasm between the two entities, at least on the surface, each battling to not only stay within their own initial worlds, but also seeming to fight battles within themselves and the reality they each inhabit, purposefully unaware of the other’s existence. However, in a moment of revelation for each, they find opportunity to dip into each other’s state of being, the actuality faced every day, finding unexpected results as they “put on” the other’s color and the realizations that arrive in doing so–yes, there is difference in color, gender, perhaps even world views–but more in common is present than ever anticipated.

Next, my Mind:

Utilizing the wonderfully unique, imaginatively mesmerizing, and soulfully impactful medium of interpretive dance paired with surrealistic yet intentionally simplistic and visually affecting imagery to present its message, writer/director/editor S.J. van Breda deftly follows up her previous, highly adept effort “Sentience” with a potent view of racism and gender equality that, as she herself has stated “can apply to any situation where there are opposing worlds and ideas”. Illustrating these points in a narrative without dialogue is, to this reviewer anyway, no small feat, but van Breda accomplishes it with flying colors (or at least via black and white here), presenting the war of the sexes, races, and, as I felt, world views succinctly (the film is only a little over four minutes long) and with substantial meaning when one truly allows the pronounced, deliberately mirrored body movements and actions to sink in deep and inspire the mind to ascertain what it’s witnessing. Add in the slowly simmering music score with its rhythmic pulses and you have the complete picture visually and aurally.

Navia and Pyke truly act as a single organism here, despite them portraying what starts out as polar opposite characters of the Black and White voids, symbolizing the distinct recognition and awareness of each individual school of thought and understanding. In spite of this evident difference that’s meant to be portrayed, their movements are so often in tandem, a first hinting of the fact that we are to look beyond what we judge on the surface and get to what’s underneath, which in this case is the very affecting awakening to the fact that we are so much more on solid, equal, and common ground that we ever seem to desire to admit. The strife this causes within us is enacted by both characters before they each experience the other’s color, which is excellent imagery to highlight the fact we are all human, regardless of everything else. The message is strongly delivered thanks to the literal immersion the Man and Woman go through, and both Navia and Pyke, via their emotive dance technique and body language, greatly portray these parts with poise and impact as intended.

In total, while the overall message here isn’t in itself something new to the table, especially in this contemporary age we’re in currently, it’s the method of unveiling it that provides maximum engagement and acknowledgement found in “Grey”. It’s another win for looking at each other as simply people, finding we’re not all that decidedly different, and that even in the ways we are, there is still plenty of room to agree and disagree while still sharing the equality of humanity we’re all entitled to in one world under God.

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

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