Short Film Review “Iridescence”



First, the Recap:

A framework of hatred and the structure of abuse. In this contemporary existence, how much more can we stand by and watch as blatant and unyielding detestation takes hold of our mindsets, turning us against one another as human beings, leading only to a wider path of contention? How much harsher is it when this venom is birthed from one’s own parent? In the wake of losing his mother Shelby (Lara Amelie Abadir), a boy named Logan (Jhomar Suyom) faces the hardest challenge of a still young life–the pain, mental and physical, inflicted by a brutish father, Vince (Andrew Nadanyi), who seems to feel his son doesn’t measure up as a man, or worse, might be gay.

Forced to bear wicked scars via tattoos that serve as a reminder of what concepts he isn’t supposed to identify with as a man, Logan turns to desperate “connection” with his departed mother, trying to find any semblance of comfort, while also being determined to stand up strongly against his father’s burning ire and malice towards him. As events continue to push Logan further into a state of anger, resentment, and desire for retribution against his father, he also starts to question whether there might be “easier” paths to escape the hell he’s experiencing. However, when unanticipated revelations come about involving Vince and his own massively stifled and unvented emotions, what began with utter contempt might potentially turn to healing, acceptance, forgiveness, and ideally, reconciliation.

Next, my Mind:

Creatively utilizing strongly laid out and highly impactful visuals with a musically-driven interpretive dance element, writer/director Max Beauchamp and producer Kent Donguines’ artistically intelligent and potently presented 9-minute experimental short film makes its statement loud and clear. Choosing to tackle the concept of a boy having to deal with both loss and the harrowing maltreatment he receives from a non-understanding father whose own inner peace is far from being achieved, the narrative powerfully and graphically illustrates the embittered hate against a person’s sexual orientation while also transcending that subject and shining a light on just how damaging such overt animosity can be, as we are really witnessing two souls in need of total, absolute transformation and rebuilding. Gritty imagery via the scarring tattoos worn by the son only serve to drive the film’s point home with focused urgency, the dance carries the emotional quotient to even more stirring levels, which is also created with the film’s affecting music score.

Suyom is a fantastic presence here in his role as Logan, a 16-year old boy who’s already having to battle his inner turbulence over losing his mother while then knowing the situation with his father is therefore only going to get worse. His struggle to look at the cruel and wounding words that scar his body and believe he is worth anything is faced here as well, and the thoughts of leaving this world rather than continue to be further maligned are strong. But, seeing the character rise up and rise above those words, finding a place of opportunity to confront his father and the internal pain he turns out to have, is quite inspiring, and carried off in a touching and emotive performance by Suyom. Nadanyi as Logan’s piece of work father Vince is very well played, introducing a character so filled with rage, disappointment, and attempts to “correct” his son, that he’s buried his own demons deep within, where they’ve festered and gone unattended to. Seeing this all boil over within him ends up disarming so much of his enmity towards Logan that it becomes the catalyst for the necessary changes needed by both.

Supporting turns here by Abadir as Logan’s nurturing mother Selby, Oliver Birmingham as a younger Vince, Anthony Juo as a younger Logan, and Jared Khalifa as Logan’s would be partner are all executed wonderfully, each adding a needed appearance integral to the greater story being told to solid effect. In total, while films of this particular thematic bend are not personally preferred, it takes the amazingly imaginative and discerning independent filmmakers to find a way to take the subject beyond the standard “soapbox” approach and instead present a message beyond just the intended one. With “Iridescence”, we addresses the overall state of the human condition that challenges us all to take a good hard look at our own hearts, minds, and souls to see that, even in things we might disagree about, there are still so many better ways to address them amongst ourselves without violence and aversion. Let’s learn that lesson soon, folks.

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

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