Nightshade (2003) – By Cary Conley

Antonio Galloro is a one-man film crew.  Writing, editing, filming, directing, and producing this, his first short, Galloro has created a powerful and sensitive seven-minute reflection of love and loss.

Filmed entirely with desaturated colors, there are blacks, browns, and various shades of grays, making this close to being a black-and-white film (with the exception of the final shot).  The film also uses absolutely no dialogue or sound effects, instead relying on the score and the actors’ expressions and body language to tell the story.  The film depicts one soul’s quest for a final goodbye at a cemetery.  To say much more would absolutely ruin this intelligent and moving film; however, I will say that I found the film’s perspective to be very interesting.  Most films that tackle this subject matter do so using the perspective of the loved ones that still remain.  However, with this film Galloro asks the viewer to consider the loved one that is lost to us.  What if this person wasn’t ready to leave yet?  How is their soul affected?

Galloro is able to convey raw emotion through his stark gray-scale photography, the subtle use of film score, and his excellent camerawork and editing, not to mention the wonderful performance of the lead actress, whose name is unfortunately unlisted on the film or on IMDb.  We see sadness—or maybe resignation—at the opening, followed by desperation as the soul tries to make contact with her loved ones.  Ecstasy soon follows as her last wish is momentarily granted followed by sadness as a cemetery monument reminds her of someone she once knew.  As the film ends, the single vivid color shot of a dark stone cross with a flaming red and orange sunset in the background communicates to the viewer that time is not the only thing that is getting closure on this day.

As mentioned before, this film is quite short but well worth every minute of viewing.  Do yourself a favor and see this terrific little film here.