One thought on “SATURDAY SHORT: VESSEL (2015)”

  1. A disturbing short, shot from the perspective of a child at the mercy of an unstable parent. The camera work is excellent, capturing the sense of isolation and skepticism of a small person used as a prop /tool by another, and having no choice in the matter. Jane is obviously unbalanced, and the narcissist narrative in her head makes her careless with the Here and Now, i.e., waking Sidney from a sound sleep for a mundane errand, not strapping him in his seat in the car when they leave for the store, etc.

    While many shots are beautiful and haunting, my favorite lasts only a second or so – the wheels of the shopping cart turning. It works beautifully as a metaphor for the manic, self-possessed mind commandeering an innocent along as a witness on Jane’s singular mission to be seen and adored. Jane is briefly forced from her beautiful-and-famous reverie by a cashier when she is unable to pay for her purchases, but quickly resolves the problem and regains her sense of self by shoplifting the items. Sidney bears mute witness to his mothers’ triumph, not knowing any other truth, and eats in the back seat as his mother drives on, talking to him, but truly to herself, in the pitch black night.

    You sense that Sidney knows he is not “just like” his mother – her conspiratorial words, and way of bonding with her captive audience. When the milk he’s been drinking spills – a white river that begins to rise like a flood in his mind – a small, inner voice urges him to save himself and escape the vehicle. The sleepy child, however, does not move quickly enough to evade the possessive grasp of the lunatic parent who was dancing in the headlights for his pleasure just moments before. The opportunity lost, he’s again returned to captivity and the mercy of a woman emotionally unraveling on an endless, winding road in a pitch black endless night.

    When the accident happens, the tragedy is 2-fold: the child is likely dead, and Jane lives on, most likely to commit more careless (and fatal) accidents. You’re left to wonder how many more innocents will die before someone realizes the sickness that animates her, piece together her history, and stop her. It’s possible no one ever will. Jane – empty without an audience – is a vessel who will always need to be filled by others. A truly powerful and memorable film.

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