The short film ‘- The Paisano

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A melancholy portrait of love and loss

On November 12th, Taylor Swift released the highly anticipated “All Too Well: The Short Film,” a stunning visual accompaniment to their highly anticipated re-release of “Red.”

“All Too Well,” while not one of the seven singles that came from the album’s original 2012 release, is a favorite among Taylor Swift fans. The heartbreakingly honest ballad tells of the painful nostalgia that is an integral part of the healing process from heartbreak. The ballad resembles diary pages frantically scribbled in the cold hours before dawn, smeared Polaroids whose vibrancy outlasts the love they freeze over time.

Verse by verse, chorus after chorus, Swift takes listeners through the blissful highs and agonizing lows of relationship. The brutal honesty woven through the lyrics is one of many reasons “Swifties” is drawn to the song. The listeners are not just observers from the sidelines, they become a piece of the puzzle, a vessel for the broken heart. Another highly anticipated addition to the “Red” re-release, the ten-minute version of “All Too Well” adds a cascade of levels to an already complex story – and with those levels a window opens into the relationship of abandoning ruthlessness.

“All Too Well: The Short Film”, directed by Swift himself, lifts the narrative style of the ten-minute lyrical masterpiece to lofty heights. With Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink in the lead roles, the film tells of the meteoric rise and catastrophic decline of a relationship. The characters of O’Brien and Sink are known as “Him” and “Her”, respectively. The stylistic decision to leave the duo nicknamed is undoubtedly deliberate as it once again allows viewers to fit into the lovers’ narrative. The short film consists of seven chapters, monumental moments and memories in sequential order: “An Upstate Escape”, “The First Crack in the Glass”, “Are You Real?”, “The Breaking Point”, “The Reeling”, “The Remembering ”and the epilogue“ Thirteen Years Gone ”.

The film sets the tonal atmosphere and begins with the introduction of a poignant quote from Pablo Neruda: “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” This quote sums up the mantra that echoes through the record: “I just remember too good of it. ”It embodies the quiet, painful kind of nostalgia when looking back at past relationships: the memories and their complex emotional web are a memento of a trip into the past.

In the introductory scene, “Him” and “Her” lie in each other’s arms, visibly enraptured by the presence of the other. But an essence of concern undermines the initial relationship euphoria: “Are you real? I don’t know, I just feel like I made you up. ”When all you know is heartbreak, doubting your blessings is a natural reaction – after all, some things in life are too good to be true.

The scenes within the film are juxtaposed in sync with the roller coaster of the feelings of the relationship. The first chapter describes the subtle but meaningful idiosyncrasies that go into the honeymoon phase of the relationship. “Him” and “Her” take a scenic drive, surrounded by towering trees and autumn leaves that collapse like pieces. The symbolism of autumn underscores the welcome and unwelcome change that will ultimately result in the course of the relationship. The private, invisible moments bleed with intimacy: furtive looks, intertwined hands, absent-minded kisses. The quiet calm before the deadly storm, the blissful onslaught before the deadly rage: it finally escalates to “The First Crack in the Glass”.

While the cinematic couple is sharing a lively dinner with friends, she lovingly grabs his hand and is faced with a casually gruesome rejection. He pats her hand condescendingly as if she were a restless pet; she is visibly shaken, emotions seething dangerously beneath the surface. From this scene on, both the text and the scenery take a dramatic turn. While the story began as innocent memories, it slowly turns into a passionate tirade of fear and all the words that were previously unspoken.

The kitchen scene after dinner is the crucial moment in which the short film reaches its climax. While the couple cleans up, tension builds when O’Brien’s character asks, “Why are you so mad? You’re acting pissed off … it’s ridiculous. ”His instant devaluation of emotions is well known to those who have experienced toxic relationships: the blame for the tension is suddenly placed on their shoulders, even though his actions were clearly the trigger.

The argument is brewing with intensity, voices grow loud and swear words float through the air. “He” gets rid of all responsibility in the heated conflict and explains: “I don’t think I give you this feeling. I think you make yourself feel that way. ”“ She ”responds to his constant verbal abuse with grace – a grace he honestly doesn’t deserve – until she finally bursts into tears. He feigns repentance, repeating “I’m sorry” over and over as if it were some kind of sacred prayer; as they sway in the kitchen, the smile doesn’t quite hit their eyes.

As the relationship slowly comes to an inevitable end, “Her” has to deal with the emotional consequences. How do you view the fact that love is not enough to keep a relationship from falling apart? How do you find your identity again after you become who someone else wanted you to be? How do you start the next chapter when the pages are stuck together?

In the final scene of the short film “Thirteen Years Later”, Swift finally appears as the older version of “Her”. “She,” like Swift herself, has turned her pain into passion, her heartache into art. She has romanized her story, reinforcing the basic theme that she will remember all too well. As her former lover wanders the streets, a kaleidoscope of memories goes through his head. He also remembers it all too well.

As a melancholy portrait of love and loss, “All Too Well: A Short Film” does justice to the anticipation.


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