Imagination is a place where ideas are born, but it’s only when reality calls upon them, that they can be brought to life.
Little Soldier, a short film written and directed Stella Corradi, brings a young girls imagination to life, while she deals with the repercussions of her mother’s decisions. Anya, a young girl no more than 8, is challenged with the task of taking care of her mother Amanda, while a man named Derek threatens to destroy her family, as he brings drugs into the house hold. The film was awarded Best Film Director at the London Short Film Festival, and received special mentions at Cork International film Festival for Best International Short and Underwire Festival for Best Screenplay. If accolades didn’t speak for it, then the 15 minute film would surely capture your attention within the first shot.
The sound of crunching brings our attention to the screen; this will become a motif throughout the short film. We watch as the light of the lamp flickers across Amanda’s tan skin and the rustling of tin foil is heard in the background. It is the elements of sound and light which carry us through the story, enhancing every shot, and showing the world behind Anya’s eyes.
The audio begins before the first picture is even seen. Its captures all noises we hear on a regular day, the leaves blowing, the stomping of feet, heavy breathing, but it also captures the things we can normally only see. What is so clever about the sounds within this film is how they mirror each other. The innocent crackling of a candy bar is followed by the tearing of drug riddled tinfoil. The innocent is mixed the corrupt. Even the lighting speaks for the characters, while Anya hides away in her colorful tent, her mother lays across bland colored couches. The light plays with our characters supporting their decisions through colors. Warm yellow light reflects off Anya’s beautiful golden curls, as her Mother lays almost lifeless in grey shadows.
But what really drives this film is the endless creativity and passion of Anya. The little toy soldiers she plays with are brought to life in their own way, as she wages war against Derek. What starts out as a cry for help, turns into a girl fighting for herself and making regrettable decisions. Played by Amaris Miller, the young actress uses moments of solitude to capture of hearts of viewers. The story present reality and the abusive natural of drugs, within a family setting.
In each film there is a moment that changes the viewer’s perspective, some may call it the turning point or the climax of a film but I call it the “revelation”. That full moment of awe when the actions or words of a character touch you, scare you or even resemble you. This happened to me when Amanda, a calm yet not collected mother, shakes and loses herself in front of her child. It that moment we knew that the drugs were more important than her daughter, yet we sympathize with her addiction.
This film shows a world most of us have never seen because it happens behind closed doors. Doors that we are afraid to open, so we keep locked. The shear impact of this film, reaches for those who struggle with addiction or are trapped within the walls of someone else’s nightmare. Through the eyes of a young rebellious girl we see its effects, and witness her escape.
Little Soldier reminds us of the power of imagination, as well as the love a daughter can have.