Independent filmmakers are always creating wonderful films with their tremendous effort and introducing ideas we hardly see in mainstream films. And if it’s a short film, we can imagine how much creativity one needs to portray a character or present a story in limited run-time.
The short film I recently watched is the 2018 Cannes Film Festival entry and the subsequent Oscar short-listed (Live-Action Short category) Caroline.
The film has been a critics’ favorite in many film festivals and has received much appreciation for its unique and precise narration, direction, and performance. The film very succinctly conveys the message and at the same time leaves us with many concerns about the system and the situations in the life of a single mother.
Written and directed by Logan George and Celine Held (who also plays the mother), Caroline follows the struggle of a single mother who one afternoon leaves her three kids inside the car to go on a job interview while asking the eldest – the 6-year-old Caroline to take care of her siblings.
While the thought of leaving kids inside a car in hot summer (without the AC running) is always a big no, the situation of the single mother and her desperation to get the job compels us to sympathize with her.
Nevertheless, as the film progresses, we see passersby noticing the kids inside the car, and their natural concern further aggravates the situation. Of course, if we think without knowing the condition of the mother, we would naturally react differently, probably pointing to the carelessness of the mother.
The story is however narrated from the point of view of Caroline, who very innocently tries to take care of the younger siblings and at the same time captures her reaction when the situation escalates with strangers intervening, blaming the mother, and even resorting to violence.
While this is a short film, it brilliantly captures the situation by giving us both perspectives, unlike many similar news reports where mothers are put behind bars or paid heavy fines. Caroline is a film that compels us to think of the situation in which one is compelled to take any such decision i.e. wrong.
The film also shows how the mob mentality can really escalate the situation with strong emotion. Nevertheless, the attempt of this film was never to victimize such cases, but rather bring focus on key issues like childcare options and what society or the system can do for single mothers.
Among several things, one of the finest things we saw in the film is the performance and how naturally everything falls in place. The mother-daughter relationship, the innocence on their face of Caroline, and the way she tries to avoid strangers at the same time waiting for her mom to come and take care of the situation were very much visible with her conflicting feelings.
Moreover, the younger kids and their expressions are all impressive and priceless. I cannot even imagine the way the director duo shot the scenes. The film as a whole is a treat to watch.
Written & Directed by Logan George & Celine Held
Starring: Caroline Falk, Brooks Falk, Sally Falk, Celine Held & Tam Jackson
Produced by Kara Durrett
Director of Photography: Lowell A. Meyer
Please watch the film on Vimeo and share with us your feedback or review in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
Caroline from ELO films on Vimeo.