Photo Studio on the Corner is utterly devastating as it touches on loss and Alzheimer’s. A fantastic short film that pulls at every string in your heart and has you immediately want to check in on an older relative you have not seen in a while. A truly sensational piece.
Grieving over her mother’s death, Chloe (Grainne Dromgoole) travels to London to visit her grandmother Susan (Nuala Walsh), whom she has not seen for many years. With the help of an aged family photo album, the pair slip into surreal visions of the past, reliving bittersweet moments of their lives.
There is so much to appreciate in Laura Salagnac’s Photo Studio on the Corner. The loneliness that both characters face wrenches you. Chloe, with the loss of her mother and then also losing the chance to have that maternal relationship with her grandmother, who is now lost to Alzheimer’s. Coupled with Susan’s own loneliness of having her seemingly only daughter and granddaughter leave to reside in another continent while simultaneously losing herself to a terrible disease literally breaks you.
Having our characters bounce back and forth via the photos in the album is a lovely touch, with those transitions working seamlessly as if the photo has just been taken, with each ‘flashback’ becoming more chaotic as we go more into the stressed mind of Susan. Both Nuala Walsh and Grainne Dromgoole are tremendous here; the difficult task of switching up emotions for Walsh as she remembers and subsequently loses said battle while not going over the top really gets to you. All the while, Dromgoole has to keep Chloe all together emotionally but is fraying with each line that is being uttered. Their performances in Photo Studio on the Corner rock you.
The moments of confusion and anger that soon turn to understanding and panic for Chloe are pitch perfect; for those who have encountered a relative who is further along with Alzheimer’s, those moments hit you like a tonne of bricks. Horribly and rather magnificently, those bricks just keep coming as we encounter some flashback scenes thanks to the photographs where we see into the mind of Susan as little blurbs are fed to her in her mind, but not enough for her to connect it enough and soon her own panic comes to the fore.
To realise that Photo Studio on the Corner is a student film is all the more impressive. By student film, I mean from the producers and director from Goldsmiths University to the set production team being from students from Wimbledon School of Art. The entire team deserve all of the plaudits for what they have achieved here. They all have a great future ahead of them. Without a shadow of a doubt this a short film that needs to be seen by as wide an audience as possible as it is simply essential viewing.
For more information on Odyssey: A Chinese Cinema Season click here
For other films reviewed from the Season, please see below!
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