Dirt, The (Short, 2008)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Robert Madison, Urbano Lione, Beatrice Arnera Gavarotti
Directed by Simona & Claudio Simonetti
I can’t imagine it’s easy to tell a story without using dialogue, even in a short film like “The Dirt”, but if you were going to task someone with such a thing, being a musician would probably help a lot.
It makes sense that a film like “The Dirt” would come from the Simonettis, considering Claudio’s involvement with Goblin and music in general for years now. Though the film may not make a lot of sense on first viewing, it’s lyrical in such a way that you’ll be drawn in regardless. Just enough truth is hidden away to keep the viewer enthralled, even when it leans a bit on the pretentious side.
Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni lights up the screen as a young photographer with some very dark secrets. In the opening scene she appears to kill her husband, the whole time being watched by … something … in the corner of the room. Through a series of flashbacks the story is hinted at, having to deal with a rape and an unwanted child, but ultimately it’s up to the viewer to decide what really happened.
It’s not easy to review a movie like “The Dirt”, one in which so much emphasis is on the visual and the viewer’s own interpretation, but I can say that Cataldi-Tassoni turns in a great performance as a woman suffering the aftermath of numerous traumatic events in her life. The film paints the portrait of a woman on the brink of something life-changing, be it for good or ill. Most likely, considering the overall tone, it will be the latter.
While there’s a lot to like about “The Dirt”, it does have its share of problems. There are scenes and actions that take place that really seem to have no purpose; despite how vague the rest of the film is, at least there are some cohesive elements. While I appreciate a filmmaker who respects his or her audience and doesn’t lay everything out at once, some clarity is welcome now and again. The timeline of “The Dirt” seemed off as well, which only served to confuse me more when a character I thought dead came home from work!
Some discussion and perhaps another viewing would likely clear up the confusion of course, but at times “The Dirt” felt pretentious for the sake of being pretentious. It’s a first film so of course it’s forgivable; I just hope the filmmakers get a slightly better grasp on their narrative next time.
“The Dirt” is a twisted filmmaking debut for the Simonettis, and I’m sure with a few more tries they might even be on the road to making new horror masterpieces themselves...
3 1/2 out of 5
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