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Femme Filmmakers Festival Review: Morgan Gruer’s Reflections

Reflections, is an astonishing, stunning 2D animated film composed of approximately 1,100 individual drawings. It’s an absolute delight to watch, and will leave the viewer awestruck.

Directed, animated, and edited by Morgan Gruer, a graphic designer and illustrator from Brooklyn. Gruer is a very talented and intelligent filmmaker. She understands the power of colour, therefore when colour appears in the film it makes that much more of an impact.

Music is used to great effect as well, and the original music was commissioned and composed by Spaer. The music at the start of the film has a soft, soothing melody, reminiscent of a lullaby or the tune to a music box, music to fall asleep to. As the narrative develops, the music changes pace, and becomes more ‘techno’-like, representing how the young woman’s mood has now changed.

At its core, Reflections deals with the concept of love, and the challenges one faces when they commit to a relationship. Gruer presents the audience with a question: what do our memories become? They are alive inside, even when the reality is dead. The fleeting quality of love forces a girl to question if her relationship ever truly existed, or if it was all in her head.

Reflections

Reflections is the expressive, impressive abstract short, and it follows a fleeting relationship between a young couple. As the film begins to build, the girl starts to question whether the man ever existed, or if it was all in her head. Her deliberation is expressed through a series of arm swinging interpretive dance, accompanied with explosive graphics and patterns.

The sparing use of colour, with the contrast of black and white, helps to make the visuals stand out and come alive on the screen. When the couple first meet, and hold hands the screen bursts full of colour, capturing the moment when we first experience a connection within our relationships. It’s simple, but very effective.

One can suspect that the majority of viewers have encountered a break-up, or a break-down, in their relationship. Breaking up with a loved one (or someone you used to love) is always a struggle, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed by emotions and thoughts, which is what Gruer manages to capture here on the screen. The feeling of confusion and loneliness speaks volumes, the character of the young woman is relatable on so many levels, because the concept of love is a universal one, that so many have encountered. There’s something about feeling wanted and needed by someone else that we all desire, and Gruer manages to capture that with her film.

Reflections

Reflections is a representation of how cinema can be art, and entertainment. Gruer certainly has a distinct voice, and proves that animation isn’t just a male’s game. It’s refreshing to see such strong animated shorts in this year’s Femme Filmmakers Festival, and they are all unique in their own way.

Animation can be powerful and impactful in the same way as live action. And Reflections, among the many animated shorts in the festival, proves this to be the case.

Check in to the Femme Filmmakers Festival on Day 10 for an exclusive interiint with Morgan Grier.

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