Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I have often written about Lucas McNelly on this blog for I love what he is doing with the blogging medium. He has elevated it past the rantings and ravings of film lovers to provide a voice for independent filmmakers through his uber indie project on his blog 100 Films. And now I have the honor of providing a voice for Lucas (albeit a very small one) with my review of gravida, his latest short film.

Filmmaking in general could use a little bit more of Lucas' talent because he uses the medium perfectly: revealing pieces about characters in matter-of-fact glimpses, letting the audience in on what the other characters don't know just yet. These are subtle forms of storytelling that Lucas uses and it was refreshing to watch a story unfold that didn't try to jam a point down my throat.

gravida follows a day in the life of Kristin (Rachel Shaw), a single woman. There's not much more to say about it than that without spoiling too much, but there's a lot we don't know about her. Often times, movies have plots and sub plots and the sub plots from that, creating loads of content and supposed depth to a character but what ends up is a wandering story line and characters too complex to follow or care about. Lucas has a story to tell and he sticks to it. There's nothing wrong with manipulation from a director. And since Lucas is the writer as well, there is no conflict here. The subtitle of this movie is "a study in loneliness" so I'm not letting anything out of the bag when I say that the opening shots of this movie help tell the story of the monotony that has become Kristin's life. A series of fades open and close small vignettes of the everyday life she lives. She doesn't look happy or sad in these shots, just content. It's not until a delivery man, Guy (Adam Kukic), shows up at her work that we begin to get a feel for how lonely Kristin has become.

I will have to say that the story is simple, yet captivating. I knew something would happen but wasn't sure what. This movie is less about the relationship that quickly develops between Kristin and Guy and more about a woman trying to make it work as best she can. Guy is not necessarily the man for her, he is just literally a "guy." It could be 'insert male companion here' because at this point in Kristin's life, she wants something. Anything. And that's the point from which the emotion of the film reveals itself. The camera work is also a perfect compliment to the story. Long static shots and few edits help capture the stillness of Kristin's life. The camera rarely moves, instead it sits there often from a distance, letting us take in what we are seeing.

This is Lucas' third short. I have yet to see the other two, but I am intrigued to do so because gravida was very well done. Listen up uber indie freaks. Lucas is the rare critic who can back up his criticism because he has been there and done that. And he has come out with a gem.

You can purchase gravida at www.dpressproductions.com/store.


Charlie said...

Guard duty was brilliant. Reclaiming Our Past....not so much. I had, and still have so much hope for this director, but was bummed wht Reclaiming came out. No new ideas or thoughts, simple rehases of a dark time. How does this rank compared to his others?


p.s. I'm sure I will see it regardless

PIPER said...

I can't make that call because I haven't seen the others. It's nice that you're familiar with his work.

Charlie said...


Lucas said...

i'd be surprised. have you actually seen it?

PIPER said...

I am surprised for the only reason that it's pretty specific. Do you live in Pittsburgh elijah?

Lucas said...

ROP has played outside of Pittsburgh more than anything else i've done, but it's mostly played to specific audiences already interested in the civil rights movement

so he could have really seen it anywhere.

he could also be kidding