Snowflake (2013) – By Kyle Hytonen

The theme of unrequited love is an age old tradition in storytelling. It has been the source for many engaging stories over the years, keeping audiences enthralled as we discover that love can conquer any obstacle. Snowflake, the sombre short drama from writer/director Francesco Roder, takes the themes of taboo romance gone past and changes the gears a bit in this modern interpretation.

In Snowflake, we discover that at the heart of the film’s story are two women, Claire (Ele Keats) and Aurore (Tracy Middendorf) who are both madly in love with each other, a love that they hide secret for many years. At the film’s outset we are introduced to the main characters quite quickly. Claire visits Aurore, who is ill in her bed, near the edge of death. There seems to be some tension between these two women. Claire is a bit reluctant to become more intimate in her visit, possibly for fear of bringing up old wounds that clearly haven’t healed, but also quite possibly for feeling a love for Aurore she has denied herself. Aurore hands Claire a hand written journal, she begins to read aloud. The story she is reading is the story of Aurore and Claire, and through a non-linear narrative in the filmmaking we are shown their story.

Both women meet years previous, Claire has decided to publish Aurore’s writing, they form a quick bond. Both women are involved in separate relationships with men, putting a bit of strain on their own relationship, which has steamed up, unbeknownst to everyone else around them. The complicated relationships in this story make the love each other has for the other even more difficult to overcome. As Aurore lays weakened on her death bed, Claire may only have so much more time to make amends for their falling out.

Snowflake is a well produced short, lovingly crafted by writer/director Roder. He is able to create a very inspired view of a lesbian relationship without having to resort to obvious clichés or standard story arcs. The performances from both leads, Ele Keats and Tracy Middendorf are also lovingly crafted, each performance allowing the layers of their past to creep into their characters slowly, but surely. Well shot, with a very moody music score, Snowflake achieves great drama throughout. The film’s dénouement, albeit a bit on the dreary side, leaves a very open window for how closeted homosexuality, unfortunately still an issue today, can affect one person. The resolve is not a pretty one, but Snowflake allows the viewer to see a different spin on how love should always overpower everything else, even when it doesn’t seem that it should be accepted at all.

Snowflake is currently on its run at film festivals across the world. More info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/snowflakeshortfilm