Lately I have been blogging about mainstream indie films (and Googling naked pictures of celebs, waka waka). For a change of pace I searched the internet in search of local talent. I struck gold when I clicked on the Hesperidian Productions webpage. Blending film and fashion, Hesperidian caught my eye.
I had the pleasure of viewing their neo-noir short film, Stiletto, over the weekend. What a refreshing change of pace from my usual theater views. (Double bonus, I got to watch it in my ten-year old Adidas pants on my couch while making out with a burrito.) Director Kyle Thomas grasped the beautiful stylization that makes the noir genre gritty and intriguing. Paired with writers Jane Morson and Mikal McLendon, he makes Stiletto a well-crafted indie gem.
Stiletto is a sultry thriller about police detective, Pete Davis (Warren Feagins) investigating the suicide of an eight-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually abused by the evil Archbishop Albrecht (Jeremy Menekseoglu). The Archbishop kind of reminded me of a Disney villain. Who am I thinking of? Ah yes, a chubby Jafar. I guess the bird on his shoulder would be pedophilia? Passionate about his police work, Pete is determined to prove his guilt. He gets some help from his part-time lover, Selene. What’s a neo-noir without a femme fatale?
Brothel owner Selene (Kristen Anderson) plays the saucy minx to perfection. Besides having the looks of a Victoria’s Secret model, Selene turns up the heat with her barely there wardrobe and her lacy bustier. Selene’s character is by far the most complex. You see a cagey smile creep across her face a few times, and, like your standard femme fatale, she’s filled with mystique.
Reminiscent of Double Indemnity and Chinatown, the characters of Stiletto fit the criteria for the genre true to form. One thing Stiletto did that is not typical of noirs was to cast African-Americans in the two main character roles (Pete and Selene). I dig it. I also dug seeing sexy-ass Pete with his shirt off. I had to find a text book to hide my lady boner. (It's true, lady boners exist.)
What is typical of noirs is cookie-cutter lighting, alcoholism and excess use of tobacco. Stiletto delivers all these elements in true form.
Watching main characters throwing back whiskey and chain-smoking is always an enjoyable experience for me as a viewer (it makes me feel better about my filthy habits) but it also affects the lighting and cinematography.
Choosing to use black and white digital film was a good move. Seeing the beautiful Selene taking a long drag of her cigarette and seeing the smoke swirl around added to the steamy tone. There is also a memorable scene where we see a drunken Pete stumble into a church confessional to confront the Archbishop. The light creeping into that tight circled patterned confessional window made for a brilliant and powerful scene.
For being about twenty-three minutes long, Stiletto manages to pack a lot in. The surprise ending made me wish it was a feature length and not a short. That being said, Hesperidian Productions proved they have artistic integrity and I am excited to see their next endeavor! For more information about their work check out their website. You won't be disappointed. http://www.hesperidianproductions.com/
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