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The Lone Wolf (O Lobo Solitário)

Director - Filipe Melo - 2023

"Greasy movie"
A late-night radio host receives a call from an old friend live on air, with shocking repercussions - short film from Portugal qualifies for the Oscars

As the film starts, the camera phases through the glass panel that separates talk show host Vitor Lobo (Adriano Luz) from the outside world, evoking the camera passing through the rusty gates of Xanadu into the protagonist’s private world in Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941). As soon as we are inside the sound booth, the film announces its intentions to the viewer through Vitor’s words to his listeners: “Tonight, we’ll talk about emotions”. This entire 23- minute film was shot in one single take.

The first call quickly comes through – it’s from a regular listener of the show, who subjects Vitor – and the viewer – to a rambling monologue about whether we should express our emotions or keep them to ourselves. As the monologue goes on, much like Vitor himself, the viewer is tested as to whether we should endure that seemingly pointless interaction. DoP Vasco Viana is very skilled: he makes subtle changes to the camera’s language – such as close-ups and unusual angles – in order to reflect the turn of events in the narrative.The camera spins in circling motion, illustrating our protagonist’s dizzying thoughts. Viana successfully aligns the experience of the viewer with the experience of the protagonist, and the technical wizardry with the narrative.

Vitor then receives a call from Raul, an old friend who tells him that his son Pedro has committed suicide. The tragic revelation takes Vitor by surprise. But Raul has an even more shocking revelation, which will cause the situation to dramatically escalate. The camera loses depth-of-field, allowing our protagonist (and viewers) to focus on the one distressing event taking place..

This display of aesthetic confidence gradually declines. Towards the end of the film, the creators seem unsure whether to resort to subtleties or lapse into cliches. The anticlimactic ending may disappoint some viewers. Overall, however, this remains a robust piece of filmmaking, boasting technical prowess as well as a strong lead performance.

The Lone Wolf qualified for the 2023 Best live Action Short Academy Awards.

"Greasy movie"

By Pedrio Mendes - 18-01-2023

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