My Kingdom is a Belgian short film about a trio of siblings. They have all come to the home of their recently passed mother to collect their belongings and relive the old memories one last time. But the longer they stay there, the more they realize what nostalgia is actually worth.
That their memories themselves are what matters and that these objects and this place are just that – objects and a place. That these will mean absolutely nothing to those who come after. So, they decide to make one more, messy and chaotic memory while they are there.
The title of the film, My Kingdom, is taken from the famous phrase ‘my kingdom for a horse’. That’s not just me speculating, the film states that at one point. The saying does have many meanings, but here it means that something insignificant could mean more than something big – how a horse could mean more than a kingdom in a battle. It is poetic and beautiful and it’s clear that My Kingdom holds this saying close to its heart.
Narratively it very well structured. The pacing is nice, slow and solemn at first. But the longer it goes on the louder and more hectic it gets. At the end, before the final breath anyway, it is a deliberate mess – much like the state of the old home. The home mirroring everything that our characters are going through.
From messy but structured, to literal paint splattered across the walls. The sound chimes in too. The start has very little music at all, even when its there it is quiet and barely noticeable. Come the end it is like being in a club. Even our characters go from whispered voices to screaming their lungs out.
I found the ending of the film to be particularly uncomfortable. I think that this is partly deliberate of the filmmakers. It is all very raw and primal – speaking of raw, there were parts of this where it visually reminded me of the cannibal/horror film Raw from a couple years ago. Namely because of the use of bright paint and the cinematography. You feel like you are seeing a bit of a break down. It’s a relief when our characters actually take a breath at the end, because that is exactly what the audience is doing. Although, this may also be partly because I don’t like clubbing – this, again, feeling like that towards the end.
It is well shot and edited, every following shot complimenting the last. You will struggle to fine a film as smoothly edited this year. The acting is on point, you buy every second of the performances through both dialogue and their actions. I wouldn’t say that I would watch it again.
But I cannot fault the craft of the filmmaking in My Kingdom. It’s a good story well told – all in less than twenty minutes. If you enjoy a good character study with some good subtext, if a little on the nose, then My Kingdom is certainly worth the viewing, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
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