J’Attendrai Le Suivant (2002)
This simple, four-minute film by French director Phillip Orreindy packs in plenty of emotional power for its length. It was nominated for an Academy Award for a live action short film in 2003, as well as a wealth of other awards listed here. Strangely, I could not find any reviews or analyses online for the film, so I will have to make do with my own!
This film is beautifully shot and timed perfectly, making the most of its short running time. The director sets up the character of the woman longing for love as we see her watching lovers on the escalator. We see her smiling at the man speaking on the train agreeably, we can feel as she feels – that she has found a kindred spirit. The man’s speech is moving and seems sincere, and by the time the train stops at the station, we are as exciting for this woman as she seems to be to meet this stranger. Then we are just as disappointed, crestfallen, humiliated and betrayed as she feels when she learns it was all for entertainment. Orreindy makes a powerful choice when the last image we can see is her unhappy face, as the applause and calls for small donations continue on the train. The careful way the filmmaker built the anticipation of the story and then pulled the rug out from under the audience serves to show how even a small narrative can completely immerse you in the emotion of the characters.