If you’re fed up with Valentine’s Day’s treacly sweetness, this short film’s (mostly) unromantic take on modern couples is a good antidote.
A modern interpretation of Anton Chekhov’s short story He and She, the movie is the debut of Russia-born director Daria Geller.
Starting with depressing testimonies from two protagonists, a husband and wife, who give their unflattering views of each other’s characters at parties and in hotels, the film’s short climax peaks when the woman takes to the stage to sing. Her performance enthrals her husband every time, making any bitterness between them fade away until the end of the picture. The movie alternates moments of tenderness and playfulness with boredom and meanness, creating a complex outlook on romantic relationships in its 17 minutes.
“I wanted to translate [Chekhov’s insights] into film by following a couple through their routine, as they endure it all for the moment on stage, when they both feel worthy of love,” Geller told The Calvert Journal. “We rarely have these moments of truth, but we are willing to go through a lot for them: an abusive relationship, an overly dependent friendship, or loneliness.”