The Dress of Myriam Review
By Ashley Maniw (JUly 31st, 2018)
Directed by: Lucas H. Rossi
Written by: Lucas H. Rossi
Produced by: Lucas H. Rossi
Key Cast: Tonico Pereira, Camila Amado
In the short film The Dress of Myriam, silence speaks volumes. Written and directed by Lucas H. Rossi, his short film uses very little dialogue to tell a haunting and moving story about loss and grief.
The film focuses on the golden years of a couple, Divaldo and Myriam. After spending all of their lives together, the couple is living out their final years together alone in a small house.
It’s clear that they’ve become so used to each other that they barely see each other any more. Myriam greets her day, and her husbands, with a serene smile. But when she tries to reach out and talk to Divaldo, he grumbles that it should be forbidden to talk in the mornings. While Myriam cleans and tends to the home they share, Divaldo spends his days alone in a hammock, isolating himself from her company. They spend their days in silence and they eat in silence too, but Myriam tries to bridge the gap with light conversation and touches. Divaldo remains unmoved and untouched by her gestures – until the silence finally becomes too much for him to bear.
That’s really all I can say about the plot without giving it all away. Rossi follows his characters through their mundane activities, making it easy to connect with them without having to rely on constant dialogue. But it also makes the second part of the film more devastating – by focusing so much on the small things we do throughout the day, Rossi also shows how small shifts leaves cataclysmic results. How silence can be all around you, but without a person the silence becomes a void.
Like all great directors, Rossi understands that less is more when it comes to films about human connection and emotion. Meditations on grief are always present in the film world because it’s such a human emotion – we’ve all experienced grief at some point. We’ve all lost someone we loved and we’ve all lost a connection either with our selves or loved ones. Instead of focusing on the devastation in grand ways, Rossi uses a restrained touch by eliminating the dialogue and allowing his actors to live in their characters’ shoes. It brings out understated, organic performances from his actors and also provides the audience with an authentic connection – we feel for these characters because we feel like we know them. We feel like we know them because we watch them exist on screen. And we can understand the void that happens later because their routine, the routine we learned about by watching them, has been interrupted.
The tragedy of grief is how the loss comes to us so unexpectedly. It’s tragic and human to try and replicate what we had before we lost it. It’s easy to continue to go through the motions. It’s easy to want to be quiet and be alone. But there’s something to be said about the difference between being alone with someone and being alone with no one around. It’s okay to be alone, but true loneliness is a tragedy.
The film does an excellent job on establishing its characters, creating their world and letting us live in it. And that’s really what the film is about – human connection. The people that we spend our lives and days with – how we need to appreciate those around us while they’re with us instead of when they’re gone.
- Ashley Maniw