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Indie Activity Review
Soulfully scored, the film's intimate and meaningful cinematography featuring some arrestingly innovative
shots is driven by emotion and a sense of dark magic pertinent to the story of an Artist and their Love.
A masterclass in visual storytelling, the film is 80% silent, highlighting a career-shaping performance by
Emma Orelove. Outstanding production values and a gut-punching ending of the film make it an entertaining
and memorable romance thriller not to be missed.
Chris Ungco (Youtube)
Feelings of Alienation inspire Art. Moving forward requires letting go of baggage. Watching Esther's Choice was like ripping off the lid of Pandora's Box of former relationships and thinking about my past, present, and future. What I loved about this
film is the Director really tapped into the vein of domesticity, and pain, and desire that plagues transitions.
There was a masterful alchemy of Soundtrack and Guillermo's Cinematography that puts you and keeps you in Esther's head. It's wonderful to see a narrative viewpoint without the crutch of Voice Over telling you how to feel. Instead you feel the musicality of the moments, the heat and the discord of the age-old dilemma of how we can advance our future while honoring our past.
The dialogue was naturalistic and poignant. When Michael says '''Is it a job if you're not getting paid for
it?" I shouted "Ooooooh" so loud that my partner shut the door... And the original piano score is mesmerizing.
Overall I couldn't stop thinking about this quote from a Kiwanuka song I share with people going through relationship change: "You never leave me. You'll always be part of the person I'll become. And I'll never leave you, You give me memories that I know could never leave..."
Special Note: loved how they included national flags at the end, really felt like a NYC story, one in which a diaspora of individuals bring their pain and their hope to make the most of the Truth in front of them. Bravo!
Bill Davis (Youtube)
...outstanding. Class, style, and intelligence--something lacking in most cinema these days.
Deborah Reardon (Youtube)
I truly enjoyed your film. It is personally meaningful to me. I became interested in your story, because I wanted your
interpretation of the emotional struggle of the heart and the sense of self between the musical artist
and the "fabled" muse.
Your short exhibits an example of emotional conflict between artist & muse succinctly. I loved it!
The music is truly a character in the film also. Mariam Khayretdinova & Casey Mullen are incredible!! Emma & Francois show a huge range of their craft, yet emotionally on target each moment.
Your writing & directing is remarkable and memorable. Much love & success. Debbie
Adam Bertocci (Facebook)
I liked the muted color pallete - I was especially pleased with the look of the early scene in the kitchen, where she wore
a blue shirt and sat against a blue wall and he a green shirt against a green wall, and I liked how sometimes Esther would be a spot of brighter blue against a sea of duller green. The limitations in the first half of the film made the color red all the more
effective when it was introduced.
Craig Guthrie (Youtube)
I enjoyed it very much. It was sooo different from what I'm used to watching. I think that's because this piece was art. It doesn't tell you what to think or how to feel. I loved the lighting and the simplicity of it; and yet, it was complex somehow. The piano music was another character in the film. Sooo important. There was a genius to it.
I didn't love it because there was a darkness to it. But films like this need to be made and you helped bring it to life so incredibly well. I loved how you went from left to right, panning the bedroom in different parts of the day to show passage of time. Brilliant. AND dark. I enjoyed peeking into your gift as a story teller.
...one more thing. It's fascinating how a piece that doesn't tell you what to think or how to feel makes you think and feel so much! And that PIANO! And the windows! Some symbolism there for sure.
Alex Riccio (Instagram)
I really loved the slow burn. It not only made the breakdown of Esther and Michael's relationship feel organic and real, but also
really helped the climax feel earned and impactful. I also liked the use of repetitive shot composition - such as the
above the bed shots, or the shots of Esther waking up next to the flowers - as it really helped visually sell Esther's
growing anxieties about Michael.
Adrian Oro (Letterboxd)
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! The music was hauntingly beautiful and perfectly followed Esther's emotions throughout the entire film. Great performances from the leads. I could really feel the inner frustrations and angst.
Diane Beauchamp (Letterboxd)
Wonderful short film. Explores the possibility one is more creative with emotional turmoil to goose the creative juices. Beautifully done and well acted.
Richard Cole (Letterboxd)
A wonderfully crafted short film that is a tender but fraught journey into the intricacies of relationships, the balance of trust, and the struggle of taking control.
That was 23 minutes very well spent! The film captures - in that short space of time - several dimensions of the title
character. An unwelcome discovery that Esther makes ultimate leads to her choice, which leaves room for the viewer to ponder and, for this viewer, was a very satisfying conclusion.
The cinematography is gorgeous; there are numerous arresting shots; and the score serves the story so well. Congratulations to the Director, cast and crew. I'll be spreading the word!