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The Mourners (The Marcy Method)

From our submissions: an horror made of obsessions, fears and lack of scruples to achieve the perfect shape.

10 – 15 | Horror | Italy | Live-Action | Madness | 2014

It is quite rare that emerging Italian short film directors challenge themselves in genres such as thriller, horror, grotesque or fantastic. Not only because of the difficulties of writing, it is hard to build a convincing narration capable to trigger strong emotions in a few minutes, but also for the production costs that tend to be higher than most authorial stories that maybe refer to the sentimental / existential drama or comedy (the two bulky legacies of our “great cinema”). Actually, though, a good idea saves your money, and economic restrictions force your brain to find original, unpredictable and unthought solutions. We would therefore also push the Italian youngest cineasts to have more courage, especially in the “short form”, which is also the one that allows more freedom.

We recently premiered online The Snake, a low budget thriller short, which has soon collected awards in different festivals around the world. That’s a sign that taking a risk often pays off. So we appreciate the fact that more and more Italian authors are exploring these areas.

The Mourners is just part of this relatively “new” trend of Italian “short cinema”. The film starts by showing two friends fishing on the banks of a river. One of them is anxious, as if a tragic event was going to happen. At the same time, in a wet basement, some people obsessed with their fitness become familiar with a new, brilliant way to get a perfect body. Through these characters we discover the extent to which people are willing to go to look perfect in the eyes of others.

The short film was presented at the Short Film Corner at Cannes in 2014, it is competing for the David Di Donatello Awards in 2015, and it was selected to the Terror Film Festival (USA), the Salento Finibus Terrae Int. Film Festival, and recently has received a special mention at the Short Movie Festival Torino. It’s technically well done: cinematography, sound, acting. In general it is well realised and the “message” is clear, in sum: mors tua, vita mea! (Latin for “Your death, my life!”). The narrative arc has left us instead a little more perplexed, in the sense that it appears more the premise for a feature, or as it was an extract from an hypothetical feature, than a short that is “comfortable in” and “understands” its own form, capable of exploiting, twisting, provoking, resolving it.

In fact, we’ve got it right. As Daniele Lince, the directro, and Roberto Tomeo, who wrote the script, explained us: “We shot this short film to find producers for the construction of our first feature film based on this story. That of diets, it is a strong argument, and we chose a genre, the thriller, to tell about it, and to emphasize the risks and dangers.” You can see the backstage here.

Using the short form not only as a “showcase” of its own skills, but as a real “pitch”, or a “spin-off” of a larger project, is a common method widely used by filmmakers around the world. There are many examples of this, not least the celebrated Whiplash (a loto of nominations and many prices, including three Oscars).

Nonetheless, we would like to remember that the “short form” is capable of narrating or addressing issues within its own language, in ways that in a “feature” would not make really sense (and vice versa of course). So, don’t be shy. Dare!

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Founder @ Good Short Films. Fond of great stories, great thinkers, great food. My motto is: your motto.

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