Thursday, November 04, 2010

Charmante Mira – review

Director: Franck Victor

Release date: 2009

Contains spoilers

Short films are an art-form in themselves and amongst the highlights of the 2010 Bram Stoker Film Festival were the vampire shorts. Charmante Mira, or Lovely Mira, was one of these. Beautifully shot it masterfully balanced touching, fantastical and comedic.

It begins with a skyscraper, the camera rises up the mirror like glass until we reach the top and move inside. We see two business men and they berate Diego (Franck Victor), who has his back to us. They tell him his business practices are old fashioned and offensive, that he risks alienating the clients. He quietly tells them otherwise and a change comes over them. They agree. Diego has clearly used eye mojo on them.

Amélie with bite marks
In a bathroom we realise that he has a reflection and as he stands at the bus stop, dark glasses on, we realise that he is out in daylight. He arrives home and calls for Mira (Cybèle Villemagne), his tone loving until he sees Amélie (Maud Myers) slumped on the couch, teeth marks on her neck. He becomes angry and seeks out his wife, who brushes her hair with rough, irritated strokes and we see that Amélie's blood is still round her mouth.

feeding from a baby's bottle
His anger is met with anger; Mira tells him how Amélie talked and talked and all she could see was the vein throbbing at her neck. Diego wants to know what they’ll tell the victim’s husband and Mira retorts that he should eat him. She suggests that Diego’s father would be ashamed and that they should go home but he won’t return to, what he describes as, a dusty old ruin. She is still hungry and so he gets her a baby’s bottle of blood.

good intentions fall aside
He needs to get a new microwave (to warm up blood for more pleasant consumption) and Mira agrees but says she will buy it. When he questions whether she will go out in daylight she admits that she has done so that very day, putting sun-cream on and seeing the sun for the first time. Their conversation is interrupted by Amélie calling for help. She isn’t dead, Mira saved him some. His intentions are good, he suggests that he’ll take her to the hospital but Mira suggests that Amélie will denounce them and he loses control and feeds.

a vampire's dinner party
This is the opening of the short and I don’t wish to spoil the journey it takes us on but suffice it to say that it involves other neighbours, Jérôme (Vincent Deniard) and Alice (Caroline Bourg), a dinner party and cross purposes. I’ll also say that the ending of the short was marvellous, somehow blending the macabre and romantically sweet – a touching moment of tenderness within a frame constructed from the horrific. All the performances are excellent, especially Cybèle Villemagne who manages to bring both sympathy and perfect comedic timing to her character. The look of the film is luscious, with some wonderful photography.

The best news is that Franck Victor is working on a feature length version of the story – something to truly anticipate. 7.5 out of 10. At the time of review the short does not have an imdb page.

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