The city at night, a couple, a gunshot... nothing is what it seems in this innovative and highly suspenseful neo-noir.
The pavement, the night, those eyes, the glass, the red, the smoke, those lips, her touch, the pavement… Wait, go back!
So begins what seems to be the narration of a night of passion… but the truth will prove to be quite different. The looping and cyclical narrative structure that supports this short, based on the return to the starting point in several occasions, gives way to a reconstruction of the events made of additions and changes in perspective, an interesting and innovative choice that helps build a strong suspense that keeps the tension high up until the very last frame.
In only 3 minutes director Taylor Engel manages to build a perfect deconstruction of classic noir: black and white, the love triangle, the gunshots, crime, blood, the femme fatale, the guilt … the genre’s classical elements are all there, but here they become pieces of a dynamic and modern puzzle. The narrator, our protagonist, reconstructs the events of that night, adding narrative elements and information that change our idea of the story. The point of view is always the same, but upon reconstructing the events in the memory, conscious and unconscious are mixed, making it difficult – for the viewer and the character alike – to figure out what is real and what is not.
Engel has a long career as a film editor, and is currently editing trailers. The skills he acquired shine prominently in this brief and vastly paced short that catches the viewer’s attention from the first to the last frame.
The Pavement is yet another proof of how new and innovative one can get through the full exploitation of the short-film medium. This story could not be told in a feature film, it can only exists in the short form. Traditional narrative styles are abandoned, and in these brief flashes of memory, in which time expands and accelerates arbitrarily, a new way to construct a thriller comes to life: one that’s built around details and not on an intricate plot. The short is absolutely minimal, yet rich in detail, and it seems to be some sort of visual poem, thanks to the rhythmic structure and the enunciation of the protagonist.
Shot on a RED Epic in just 10 hours, the short ended up in the final Top 10 of Project Greenlight, the HBO show supervised by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck aimed to produce a feature film for a first-time director. Taylor Engel is developing his first film with his brother Blake, co-author of The Pavement.
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