Plain Us

I’ve been meaning to mention Amir Motlagh’s lushly shot short film, Plain Us, for several months now, but with the film now being made available on Vimeo, now is a good time to give it a quick review.  Plain Us opens with Cyrus playing a gig with his indie rock band (playing music from Amir’s own postpunk band, Shanks and the Dreamers).  We soon learn, via an encounter with one of Cy’s high school acquaintances, that he’s playing in his hometown.  However, instead of celebrating the band’s performance  at the club, Cy quietly disappears, stopping off at a convenience store to buy drinks and a small children’s toy–a plastic unicorn, a virtual afterthought for the six-year old daughter he left behind with his girl friend, Brook.

While the dialogue is sometimes a little stilted, Plain Us offers a quiet meditation on the challenges of coming home and a subtle depiction of Cy’s offhand gestures that suggest he hasn’t really shown a lot of attention to his family.  Much like minimalist fiction, Motlagh’s film tells us a lot through fleeting conversations and offhnad gestures.  Unable to find anything to wrap the plastic toy at the convenience store, Cy takes the advice of the store’s clerk and buys some aluminum foil, which only highlights the shabbiness of the gift.  At the same time, Plain Us is elegantly shot, something that may not be as apparent on a computer screen, but it is a feature that makes Motlagh’s film stand out from most other DIY films I’ve seen. Plain Us runs for about 24 minutes and can be viewed on Vimeo.

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