Lost In Carranza | Short Film Review
By Alexandra Kelley (March 20th, 2019)
Directed by: Marin Troude
Written by: Marin Troude
Produced by: Hell, It's Paradise, Born Wild Agency, Bon Enfant Production
Key Cast: Pablo Carranza
It’s an unfortunately common story: the promising of at-risk youth who falls in the clutches of addiction, dreaming of escape but trapped to repeat the honeyed and sticky pattern of destruction. So goes the story of Pablo Carranza, the titular protagonist of the short documentary Lost in Carranza. Director Marin Troude takes Carranza’s story and aligns it with an unconventional narrative: a voicemail left on a friend’s phone by Carranza. The voicemail acts as a confession; Carranza divulges his recent score, apologizes profusely, and begins to descend into his personal saga.
There is a specific location: the hills of San Francisco, skate parks and streets. It comes as no surprise, what with San Francisco being as famous for the tech industry as it is for the American drug crisis. Carranza knows the town well and appears to roam the streets skateboarding daily. His talent is clear; even mentioning an opportunity to go pro, which has since come and passed. In between these locations that feature nice action shots of Carranza’s prowess on a skateboard, we eventually catch Carranza in his room, abusing drugs. In these private, illicit shots, the audience are forced to see something they shouldn’t be seeing. It’s a feeling of untouchability; of invasion. This is a crucial sensation to a successful documentary, the process of uncovering.
Lost in Carranza simply doesn’t hold back. Director Marin Troude emphasizes the cyclical prison Carranza has trapped himself in with repetitive shots of his daily life in San Francisco, which after an introduction, become white noise. Using the triumphs and downfalls of skateboarding as a partner to the story is compelling; when the subject is in motion, the audience stays engaged. The diverse focus of these action shots--perspective on the arms, his mouth, feet--also protect the cinematography from looking commercial, and is quite often breathtaking. The motion breaks occur mainly in two separate locations: church and bedroom. Two diametrically opposing actions happen here. This juxtaposition is a dizzying and honest reality about addiction: the pleading for redemption and salvation, the fast drag into relapse.
Watching the film, it’s more than likely the audience will find themselves feeling a myriad of emotions; ranging from dispirited, unhinged, optimistic, or even proud at times throughout the 22 minute runtime. This might be the best aspect that makes this film work so well: identifying the exact feelings and emotions of an addict or a supporting friend and imparting them unto the audience.
Although a subject matter undoubtedly full of dread and hardships, there is something almost optimistic and satisfying to the sad narrative displayed throughout Lost In Carranza. The ending leaves the audience with a marked sensation of hope, as it shows a distinct shot of railroad tracks, a hallmark of the American West’s manifest destiny and inevitable propulsion forward. Hopefully, we will see the same from our subject.
- Alexandra Kelley