September 11, 2010

It’s not often that I watch shorts and find myself wishing they were any longer than they are (frequently in fact I hope for the exact opposite.) Such however was my recent experience in viewing Oren Shai’s broody and contemplative “Women in Prison” short, Condemned (2009). A promising piece of work that actually left me wanting more…

Condemned offers an extremely artful glimpse into the damaged psyche of a young woman we presume is on death-row. Through her internal dialogue we are able to construct a full enough narrative to piece together the potential events that led to her imprisonment. But the narrative becomes secondary to the stunning visual style and incredibly affecting tone which afford the film with the surprising weight and substance that it holds.

It is clear from the short fourteen minutes that Condemned runs for that Shai is an accomplished filmmaker who is adept at using the formal qualities of film to elucidate its content. Beautiful, thoughtful and hopefully a first look at what’s yet to come.

Written by Tara Judah for Liminal Vision.