Sisterhood… equal parts magic and torture. Too long cinema has underserved this most special of relationships. Much to it detriment. For the bond shared between sisters is the deepest and most complex of familial ties, particularly during childhood. On a good day, a sister is a confidant, partner in crime… best friend. On a bad day, she’s the worst of all living nightmares. The embodiment of pure evil. But, as always, the gift of sisterhood means that there will always be more good days than bad. Of course, some days can be both good and bad. Some days can be bittersweet.
Director Victoria Rivera’s short film, Verde centers on such a day.
Verde is both a bittersweet exploration on sisterhood, as well as, a fine, paintbrush delicate portrait of emerging womanhood. Set in Colombia, Verde tells the tale of Emilia and Martina; the former veiled in childhood innocents, while the later teeters on the edge of awkward adolescence.
Emilia and Martina spend the morning laughing, joking and basking in the rays of silly fun. However, that all changes in the blink of an eye, when their mother announces the arrival of their cousins. At the mention of them, Martina quickly snaps out of giggly girl mode and assumes the identity of faux womanhood, undoubtedly modelled on the ones seen on movie screens and Instagram feeds. Martina is trying to impress someone, and Emilia doesn’t know who and why. At sunrise, Emilia would have thought the coming idyllic, sun-drenched summer’s day would be like any other. By sunset, she will know that her relationship with Martina will forever be changed.
In Verde, the cinematography is magnificent. Each shot is a framed picture of luscious scenery and dazzling sunshine. Essentially the perfect complement to the magic of childhood. However, the script is everything. Writer Neda Jebelli’s uncluttered script guides and encourages rather than restrict its young precocious talents, freeing Samantha Medellin (Emilia) and Maria Elvira Ramirez (Martina) to bring in a natural freshness and charm to their characters. Interesting the film leaves out the presence of phones and technology more broadly. Perhaps this is coincidental, or it is a conscious reflection of the timelessness of the trials and tribulations of sisterhood and emerging womanhood. Either way, it is unclear.
Victoria Rivera is a remarkable director. Verde is intelligent, rewarding filmmaking at its finest. Verde could have easily veered into the overdramatic or tear-jerking, instead, Rivera uses subtlety and a gentle hand to sculpt an altogether more nuanced short film. One far more concerned with the mystique of a glance and the warmth of touch, than words. A must watch.
You can watch the film on Short of the Week here.
While Victoria Rivera’s website can be found here .