Thursday, April 01, 2021

Short Film: Nom

Viewed at the 2020 IVFAF. This is a 2019 short film from Ángel Hernández that comes in at just over 10 minutes and, normally, when I share these short films, I do my darndest not to spoil. Not so in this case as the film is simple but plays with a particular trope that deserves exploring here.

The film starts with a record being put on a turntable and we meet an older gentleman, grey of hair, who is prepping a bicycle; oiling the chain, tightening bolts, putting the rear wheel on. After the prep of the bike, he then fills a syringe, dons cycling clothes and puts on a chain with a razor blade attached.

on yer bike

We see him cycling, the area is mountainous and the going hard but he cycles determinedly anyway. Eventually he stops, upturns his bike and removes the rear wheel. He seems to take in the sounds of nature but then hears another bike approaching – this stops and the cyclist offers help. As the newcomer bends to look at the frame, the older cyclist stabs him with the syringe and drugs him.

drinking blood

Off the beaten track and the good Samaritan is unconscious, the cyclist stood over him. He tears the razor free and cuts the man’s neck, placing his drink bottle to capture the blood. Once full he drinks some and then starts to coat his own face with blood. We then see him cycling with renewed vigour until he stops above a lake – he carries the bike down, strips and skinny dips.

lake of blood

In the water, he says some words (not subtitled, unlike the earlier exchange with the other cyclist), perhaps a prayer or incantation and allows himself to sink below the surface. Blood seems to fill the lake, turning the waters red. This was interesting as it reminded me of Byzantium. In that the waters of a waterfall turn red to mark a vampire being created and in this we get a connection with nature, one might say. When we see the cyclist return to his home, he is a young man – a portrait of him indicates this has been a centuries long ritual.

working on his bike

The growing younger is a staple of the genre, of course, and a central point of Dracula. We can also, in this case, look to the myths around Erzsébet Báthory as him washing in the blood seems as necessary as drinking it. According to the director the title "NOM" comes from "Nunquam Omnis Moriar" (I shall never wholly die), a quotation from Horace. This was a well-made little short, with the story simple but effectively told. At the time of writing there is no IMDb page.

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