The Lady in Waiting (1992)
Short film is a somewhat obscure medium. Luckily, today we’ve got the Internet to reveal the mysterious and make the previously obscure knowable. Still, there are a few exceptions to the rule, like an obscure short film from 1992, winner of the Student Academy Award Gold Medal for a Narrative and nominee for the Academy Award Best Live Action Short Film. Hailing from the golden era of VHS and buried in the archives of the Student Award winners, there is next to no information about The Lady in Waiting that I could find. Still, I’ll take a crack at film analysis.
The film tells the story of two exact opposites, a blue-blooded society lady and a New York drag queen, who get stuck in an elevator together during a city-wide blackout. They bond over a shared struggle to be recognized for who they are, to combat invisibility. As I watched the film, the idea that kept coming back to me was visibility, since the characters spend the duration of the story in complete darkness. It is only in the dark that these ladies can truly see themselves and each other. Each woman yearns to be seen as beautiful for who she is; mirrors keep cropping up in the film to indicate vanity and self-reflection.
I found a strangely similar summary in the Sundance Archive which makes me think director Christian M. Taylor was hoping to turn this into a feature film. The storyline is a longer version of the same basic story. Some of the details are fuzzy.
Overall, I can appreciate this film as a brief look at the struggle for visibility and self-acceptance.