“Alumbramiento”: a family faces the last night of its eldest member, showing their different ways of dealing with a life’s ending. In a surprising manner, overcoming fear and taboo, one of them will guide the passing” (from website, Arrivano i corti film festival, Italy)
This short by Eduardo Chapero-Jackson is a powerful almost static cinematic experience, simple yet unpredictable. The surprise, as the title suggests – delivers in a new light the big unanswerable question. Where does life go?
Now we’re in a car, slicing through a yawning sequence of on/off lamp-posts, flashing like low-energy question marks
It’s a journey. No peace of mind. The man drives, focused, spent. Eyes gripping the road, his mind taking logical stabs at the scarcity of solutions
His woman sits by him, navigating feelings. She offers a hand but he refuses, they don’t hold together. Pain and fear creates distance, Uncured it can be fatal. The director frames them separately, two broken halves in silent visuals of the hallucinatory real.
The dawn is further away. Can life be fixed?
Scant dialogue, surgical.
120 seconds into the film we are immersed in an amniotic texture of lucid confused re-investigation of a dead-end relationships and memory.
(what city are we in? where are they going? who is sick?)
A dark bedroom engulfs and suppresses our resistance. We witness magnetized, polarized spaces. Bare practical lights. Devastating narrative undercurrents: life is weaker or stronger, uglier or more beautiful when death arrives announced? We spend ten minutes in this bedroom. It feels like forever.
The forces of life assemble around each other’s weakening pulses, matching optimism against pessimism. “She will make it. She always makes it”.
The son-who-is a-doctor directs a nurse in the technical requirements of tonight’s pain-aversion attempts. He tries to appear in control as his woman observes. Cutaway characters come to life as pairs of silent eyes.
The old woman on the deathbed: childish, angelic. Wrapped in breathing tube and coughing all she seems to have left inside, with resistence. Time and place is now, morphine. Sister morphine.
In “Alumbramiento” the passing on of the old mother is a childhood song, not the end of the story. The doctor’s wife now replaces human logic with a peaceful caresse and a simple imperative: – Breathe, you did well in life. Just breathe.” She removes all power from the predictable. Two plain beats open “Alumbramiento” to emotional heights: fear becomes love, shared experience, forgiveness, of life as it was. As it is.
Eduardo Chapero-Jackson is the director of “Alumbramiento”, it means in Spanish both “illumination” and “delivery”.
Gracias, Eduardo. Looking forward to working with you some day.
/ daniel alegi
This txt article appeared in full length in “P.O.V.” A Danish Film Studies publication edited by Richard Raskin, now online as Short FIlm Studies.