Ms Davis' Close Friend
Director: Richard Schertzer I Runtime: 26 min 41 sec I Country: United States
A deeply emphatic foray into longing and loneliness
Marina Davis is dying. Living alone in her modest apartment, battling breast cancer, she spends her days contemplating the fragility of existence and finding solace in memories of a happier but now distant past. The only people in her life are her caretaker, a son who occasionally calls her from overseas and the titular friend who regularly visits her. Through her various interactions with these people we get a glimpse into Marina's inner world.
Ms Davis' Close Friend is a low budget film but it is technically well constructed. Director Richard Schertzer opts for substance over style. Creative visual choices in terms of scene blocking and editing coupled with effective cinematography helps the viewer connect with Marina's character and delve into her lonely world. The black & white cinematography adds a layer of melancholy to the narrative and serves an integral storytelling purpose, one which becomes clearer as the end credits roll.
Danette Illig is an excellent casting choice for portraying Marina Davis. Through subtle nuances and an understated performance, she generates the right amount of empathy for her character and keeps you invested in her world. The breakout performance in the film however comes from Kike Ayodeji as the caretaker, Katie. She owns the role through her earnest and deeply heartwarming performance that also serves as a vantage point into Marina's world for the viewer.
The film also adds an element of surprise to the proceedings and while you may see it coming before the intended revelation, it in no way takes away from the experience of watching this poignant drama unfold. This is a film that will leave you with a sense of pathos and joy in equal measures by the time it ends and that is not an easy feat for any narrative to achieve.
Ms Davis' Close Friend is currently playing in select film festivals worldwide.