By Naseem Ally. ‘Malou’ is a short film inspired by true events. It follows a young, passionate dancer by the name of Malou, who is absolutely tenacious in fighting for her dream of performing on the stage.
After years of going through hoops of turmoil and rejection, fate would have it that an opportunity would present itself to her, resulting in an unexpected revelation.
Malou, played by Romina Kuper is reserved and seen as someone pretty much out of place. She’s an outsider. This is none more evident than in the first few scenes of the film, where she is clearly met with some hostility. As she makes her way through the dance school hallways, a fellow student makes the comment ‘what is she doing here?’
Stephan Frohlich, the director of photography for this film, has made a strong input on the aesthetics.
Malou opens with scattering strobe lights that shine on a dancer as they perform. The hues from the lights are vivid and dramatic, setting the tone for the rest of the film.
This scene slowly fades out to reveal a young Malou being amazed by the dancer’s grace on the television. As this is a 15-minute film, there’s not really much of an emphasis on seeing the young Malou growing up to where she is presently in the film, which is a shame.
However, this is done in an ingenious way as she runs down a number of hallways and doors, leading to the main entrance for her dance school with the camera focusing on a grown-up Malou. A signal that she has arrived.
It was a great way to approach the sequencing of the film, considering the time constraints.
Throughout Malou, there’s a good use of natural lighting. The large and well-lit windows play into this vision of ‘grandeur’ as she walks through this very prestigious dance school. Malou is clearly battling through the intimidation but seems to stick to her guns as she’s determined to make a point at this school.
You could say, Malou is the ‘B-Rabbit’ of the dance world. ‘Do you know what it’s like to prove yourself every day?’.
Malou’s score is beautiful, and this is cemented right at the beginning of the film. It opens with some very piercing strums of the violin that really creates a unique atmosphere. It’s almost haunting.
Not quite in the same manner as ‘Joker’, but it’s very good, and works in this particular circumstance. There’s a lot of classical influence in the film and it goes with the overall theme of Malou.
Going back to my earlier point of the use of natural lighting, the same can be said for the sound too. Outside the school campus, there’s a moment where Malou goes to reflect and is surrounded by a wonderful ambience of birds chirping and leaves gently rustling in the wind.
Malou more or less follows the similar themes of hardship in the pursuit of excellence in the dance world, as we’ve seen in many similar films over the years, so it isn’t anything groundbreaking.
But what it does have going for itself is a tactile and simple approach to the genre, that keeps you drawn into the story.
There are no sudden flash mob sequences after Malou pulls a fast one on her harsh dance tutor, who apparently has ‘a stick up his ar*e’ as mentioned by one of the instructors in the film.
But instead, it’s the world that has been created from the visual and audio work, and the straight forward dialogue that will keep your interest enough, to engage in this film.
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