Someone contacted lil old me to see if I was interested in reviewing two of their short films, The Minions and The Days God Slept. Actually, it was not just someone, but an actual real life New York based writer, producer and director, Jeremiah Kipp, who’s got an impressive catalog of films to his name. It’s safe to say I was feeling pretty excited yet also slightly under pressure to write something that wasn’t just my brain spitting out words onto the page.
But hey, it still might be, you can be the judge of that.
First I watched The Minions. Described on the films Facebook site as based on a true story about, “being thrust into a desperate situation that requires mutual trust between strangers. Given the volatility of the circumstances and the uneasy state of mind of the characters, a lot can go wrong. And does.”
We follow William, played by (the very handsome) Lukas Hassel, who on his walk home at night he decides to walk down a so-called ‘witches’ path’ and runs into a very drunk girl and her friend who needs his help to get her on her feet.
The (seemingly) simple story is a really effective one. We’ve all been in this situation, or at least, imagined what we would do ourselves if we were in such a situation, where we would have to place our trust in a stranger, and them with us.
Now before I get into what actually unfolds, I’d really like to mention an obsession of mine…colour. I’ve never been to New York (don’t remind me) but in my head I like to imagine, like this film, that everything is grayscaled and full of earthy, muted colours, yet of course, oozing class and mystery. Each scene correlated to the dark, uneasy feel to the film and it’s characters, and each shot was unique and intriguing, the night time lights of the city glinting with supernatural suggestion.
There was so much that was subtly packed in to this film of just 11 minutes. The supernatural elements of ‘the witches’ path’ and what might happen if you walk down it was interesting, as a lover of urban legends and ghost stories, I would have probably found myself in the same situation of William, walking down a path that scared me just for my own masochistic amusement. But the film is not predictable in the slightest, as his actions take a surprising turn, from a man who seems reluctant to get himself involved with anything, to a man who seems to be taking advantage of the situation he has put himself in.
The end of the film was effectively abrupt (made even more effective by the strange music that kicks in at the end) and immediately made me want to watch the whole thing again. I wanted to question what I could take from the film and think about the meaning of what unfolded, (preferably standing in an apartment looking out onto the night sky of NYC…) and as we know, any film that makes me think is a winner for me.
Next was the brilliantly titled, The Days God Slept.
From the description alone, this film had me hooked. Described by Jeremiah in his email as an, “experimental film set in phantasmagoric strip club,” and on the films Facebook page as a, ‘cinematic prayer that deals with love and secrets…’ it’s safe to say it sounded like a film I really needed to see.
The film opens in, yep, you guessed it, a strip club, reminding me of Lana Del Rey’s short film Tropico, as a nearly naked woman spins around a glittering pole. The blue and purple lights feel dreamlike and hazy, perhaps like seeing through the eyes of someone on some kind of opium based drug.
But actually the film is not just gritty or appealing to the eye. The film has a quality of authenticity to it and is actually quite harrowing at points, where the girl relives her secret to the man who seems to be in love with her.
I won’t try to describe or explain any more of the plot because well, I’ll probably butcher it, but what I will talk about is the amazing cinematography and the hyper-real feel to the film.
After I had seen The Days God Slept for the second time I decided to do some investigating on it’s Facebook page. One post included an expert from an interview the director Jeremiah did for Malevolent Magazine, he talks about how “(they) we were trying to create an open film where viewers could bring their own interpretations,” and mentions the cinematographer who “felt that he felt the strip club scenes were like heaven, the red room where our main character is assaulted is hell, and the park bench outside where our ‘boy meets girl’ story takes place is a form of purgatory.”
This idea of each scene representing a stage in the afterlife opens up another layer to the film. For just a 10 minute film it feels a lot more substantial and every time I watched it again I felt like I could take something knew or look at something in a different way. I kept coming back to this quote from the film, “of the two, love is what I want, but it’s the pain I trust..” and the idea that perhaps the hardest thing might not be telling someone or ‘confessing’ your secrets or sins but actually accepting them yourself and taking them for what they actually were.
Overall I think the film was very well thought about. It’s clear a lot of time and energy and love went into The Days God Slept. For me the whole film seems like a memory shared between two people that we are seeing, as we are pulled into how each of them remembers it, or how they would have liked it to happen.
To take the title literally, it’s an interesting idea to think about what really does happen on the days God sleeps.
Perhaps God has been sleeping for a very, very long time.
Finally a huge thank you to Jeremiah Kipp for letting me watch and review his hauntingly beautiful films, you can find out more about him and read his impressive bio HERE!