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Synopsis:

A young man dances every morning at 8 o`clock in the living room in front of his step-mother – an ex-ballet dancer currently in a wheelchair.

After that, Morning becomes a non-talking movie – not strictly a silent film because it has sounds and music. Then the visual assumes the priority to communicate the story. And this is done with talent. The shadows of the window blinds remind of prison bars, a metaphor for the situation of the young lad that practices his dance while supervised by his adoptive mother. The wooden floor is worn out in the spots where he dances, indicating that this training is a daily activity (starting sharply at 8 am as shown in the detail shot of the alarm clock) that takes place for years. Despite the harshness we have witnessed in the verbal prologue, here the relationship seems kind and loving. The mother smiles gently at the young man and he prepares a cup of tea for her, while she makes a take-out sandwich with neat slices of cheese in the format of stars. Besides, after he leaves, she removes her jewelry and make-up, meaning that she put them on just for him.

The short movie Morning dares to tell its narrative without using words, except for the introduction, during the opening credits, when we can listen to a woman saying harsh things to an orphan child. Although the connection of this prologue with the story is thin, it is not hard to deduce that it is a flashback that illustrates how one of the characters (who we discover is the adoptive mother) has raised the boy she has taken in. This passage is essential to understand the complicated relationship between the two sole characters of the film.

Cast: Petar Gerzilov, Veronika Yanakieva

The narrative leaves no unanswered questions in the plot. Why is she doing this? As we see her in a wheelchair staring at pictures of her younger version dancing, we already find out the reasons. She used to be a dancer, but she became physically handicapped and now transfers this old passion to her son. But how does he feel about it? In this first sequence, we believe that he is comfortable with this situation. However, in the second segment, when the mother files an application for him to participate in the selection for the National Opera, he shows a bad reaction to this pressure. Here, the music contributes to emphasize this situation, with the use of disharmonic chords. Still without words, the breaking apart of the relationship is shown by the way the boy prepares the tea without care, even dropping some of it on the floor. At the same time, the mother wears no makeup or jewelry. The seriousness of the rupture is stated by the scene where the mother puts down her portraits as a dancer – she acknowledges that she must let go this dream.

Written & Produced by: Nevena Krassimirova Nikolova

On the other hand, there are some points that do not work a hundred percent. The editing is not always smooth as it should be. For instance, in the moment when the guy is pouring the tea, there is a cut between two shots that feels awkward, and some detail shots in the dance are out of raccord. Moreover, the acting is sometimes poor, and the editing tries to disguise the actor looking at the camera. Besides, when the camera is handheld in the scene when the lad feels irritated with the training and tries to prepare the tea, we miss the shaken moves of the camera, as they are probably softened by the stabilizer. 

However, what stands out is the conciseness of this short movie, that succeeds in telling its plot without using words. There is no doubt that Morning is an outstanding directorial achievement.

MORNING

2022, Bulgaria, 12 min

Directed by:  Nevena Krassimirova Nikolova,                             Petya Atanassova

Eduardo Kaneco

Film Critic, the founder of Leitura Filmica