Kindling is an important and insightful new short-film about female relationships, following the event of one young woman’s abortion.
This Coming-of-Age Drama tells the story of estranged friends who reunite for a life changing event. The two girls were evidently close friends in high school but have grown apart with one leaving for collage. It becomes evident that they come a low-economic background, and that there has been tension over their recent life choices. One friend describes them as always being “trailer-trash”, whilst the other claims she is being guilt-tripped for trying to “better herself”.
Kindling does a great job of representing the type of close friendships we have all had- where you might not have seen each other for years but when you reunite it’s like no time has past. Moreover, this short focuses on the specific type of friendship that is two women who have a very intimate yet platonic relationship. As a woman myself, I can identify having this kind of relationship in my own life, but have rarely seen such a close-up depiction of it on film.
Some scenes are so simple, with very minimal dialogue. Instead there is often silence between the two characters, and yet so much is being said in those moments through their actions, body language and facial expressions. This to me, felt like an honest reflection of real-life human communication, especially in close relationships. This is clever, yet brave, work from writer Sheridan Watson and director Xinyi Zhu. Luckily, both Jill Renner and Nicole Falk are brilliant actresses and are able to convey the subtle emotions and intimacy beautifully.
The cinematography by Fannong Li gives a nostalgic and almost vintage affect. I really enjoyed this, as I believe it is relative to how the characters feel as they spend time with an old friend who represents another era in their lives.
Though much of the short’s elements are simplistic, the content is not. I am glad the film was stripped of any heightened drama and frills so that we could focus on seeing how this young girl handles her abortion, and how her equally young friend supports her through it. The discussion around abortion is still so taboo and yet it is not at all an uncommon event in the lives of women.
I believe it is important to stop stigmatising the struggles in women’s lives, and I think this movie does a great job of that by normalising the conversation. I think the fact that this was a very female-heavy creative team, meant that they were able to approach this topic with a large level of sensitivity and honesty.
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