Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

The Most Beautiful Man in the World (2002)

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The beauty of this five-minute film by Alicia Duffy lies in its ambiguity, and I confess, that is also the reason that I felt compelled to research this film in order to better understand it. It is intentionally ambiguous. The director uses barely any dialogue, preferring to tell a story with imagery and atmosphere. Short of the Week blogger Jason Sondhi writes:

The outdoor scene is wonderful with the soft sounds of the wind, the birds and the bypassing cars. They help add to the lazy Sunday languor of the piece, yet rather than be mere background they draw you into an immediacy of the moment,  sharply attuning you to the vibrancy of a place and time. The care and attention to the details in both image and sound is not merely stylistic, it places us into the mind of the young girl, simultaneously oblivious and yet hyper-aware,  providing us with the vividness and romance which so often are the lasting hallmarks of momentous encounters for lives so young.

Duffy uses lingering shots, extreme close-ups, and glowing sunlight to pull the viewer into the moment this girl experiences with extreme delicacy. The girl obviously does not feel threatened, but her mother’s reaction sends her running back toward her house. The British Film Institute’s website offers some insight to the filmmaker and the production of the film. There is also a list of the awards the film was nominated for and won.

I don’t think it’s as important to know the “truth” of the film as it is to consider the “truth” for each character. The girl experiences a beautiful moment with a beautiful man. The mother experiences a moment of fear. We don’t know the truth of the moment for the man, whether he was innocently befriending a girl and her dog or if his intentions were more sinister. I prefer to consider this moment from the girl’s perspective, when on a boring summer day she came across the most beautiful man in the world.


Written by Alisa Hathaway

March 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

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