The Sweet Hand of the White Rose (2010) – By Emily Intravia

Davide Melini’s The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is a 16 minute film that chronicles how a moody young man and a thoughtful girl’s fates are intertwined on a beautiful summer day. Like many shorts, the film limits its dialogue, focusing most of its resources on the look and feel, a dreamy atmosphere that comes across with haunting beauty.

Filmed for just 2000 Euros in eight locations across Spain, The Sweet Hand of the White Rose features some striking imagery and camerawork. A panoramic mountain shot is used to great effect, as is a stunning black and white scene stained with a touch of blood red. It’s no surprise that the film won Best Cinematography at the Cesur en Corto festival in Spain.

The narrative is slightly less notable, as our primary character Mark (Carlos Bahos) never does much to win our sympathy or interest. The film opens with a full credits sequence in a loud rock-filled bar, an odd choice that sets an incongruous tone to what follows. Following an argument with his girlfriend (Leocricia Saban), Mark drives home slightly distracted while the titular young White Rose (Natasha Machuca) innocently rides her bike, poetically musing about her own oddness as a solitary child.

Although the main plot twist is fairly predictable, The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is infinitely watchable for its finely crafted style. Melini takes his characters to a dark place, using quick cuts, cautious lighting and a heavy modern soundtrack. The result comes dangerously close to a music video, but Melini rescues his narrative with some truly gorgeous shots that bring our characters back into solid ground. Though the script doesn’t rise to the film’s visual power, the overall effect is strangely ethereal and marks a promising start to the young filmmaker’s potential.

The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is currently making its way through international film festivals. For more information on viewing the film or Davide Melini’s other shorts, visit his website at http://www.davidemelinidirector.blogspot.com.