Polar Night is a short film directed by Kiki Li and stars actors Isabel Potting and Haomu Zhang, who are from different ethnicities, in an intimate scene. The short film is released on Vimeo just a few days ago and it is found by me when I was browsing through some recent categories. With unknown actors and the shooting limited to one location, could Polar Night create something that transcends the language barrier with its narrative or film techniques? Read on to find out!
Original Video Link: https://vimeo.com/218369830
A young Chinese teenage boy and a Dominican teenage girl discussed their situation in their own languages and found that feelings can be transferred even with the language barrier.
The narrative is very simple, and it’s just about two lovers(?) who were talking about their past and culture. Weirdly, the two characters seem to only have just met one another on the same night, perhaps a one night stand. Next, the pacing is pretty slow throughout the movie, which is intentional, and it fits the narrative and atmosphere. Characters speak some of their native languages with appropriate accents and do not seem fake, and they are quite believable, except the part they were asking where each of them come from. Music is alright, and it matches the colours and mood of the short film, but sadly is marred by white noises. The concept of the story does seem unique, though it does not fully bring out the concept that the characters transcend the language barrier. It would be better if there are some more flashbacks based on the spoken incident. The decision not to include a subtitle is pretty divisive, as on one hand it causes us not to understand the entirety of the second half, and on the other hand, it does makes us listen through the tones and mood of the characters to roughly understand the story. Overall, I applaud the decision to not include the subtitle as it forces me to understand the other languages through other means.