This sweet short from James P Gannon – whose previous film Betty Feeds The Animals also starred his mother – has a surprising humor, given that the film sees his parents reminiscing about the day they nearly died 50 years before. .
The director gives the story the feel of an old home movie by shooting in Super 8, though the colors turn out to be more vivid than memories of his mother and father Betty and Jack, as they conjure up the the day their car – with two of their children and one of their mothers in the back – was hit by a train. We can tell, of course, by their very presence that they dodged tragedy, but the story unfolds off-kilter as the duo disagree on key elements. Was the music playing that day? What happened after the impact of the train? Did it bring them closer?
The use of this Super 8 is crucial to the feel of the film, already giving it the emotional quality of something remembered, even though we know on an intellectual level that it is a contemporary element. Using photographic slides to show snapshots of the family as they were then only further cements the feeling of stepping back in time with those memories. Gannon uses the camera to generate an element of thriller as the film progresses and Jack talks about coming “face to face” with the train – the Super 8 becomes oversaturated, with a freeze frame used in the style of ’70s B-movie at the perfect time. The humor may suggest that the director does not take himself too seriously (which is only confirmed by his Meet the artist video) but, on the other hand, he pays serious attention to the possibilities offered by the Super 8 and exploits them to the maximum.
Reviewed on: Jan 19, 2022