Nothing Ever Really Ends is a short film directed by Jakob Rorvik that focuses on a series of intimate moments between a young couple. It’s not the type of romance that paints a clear, distinct image of love as everlasting and absolute. In fact, what makes the film so enticing is that it’s a love story about finding the courage to break up. It follows the couple throughout three New Year’s Eves and shows that resolutions can be bittersweet. Even when something ends, it’s never really over because it lives on through the memories.
The film begins with the ticking of time and this sound is a theme that continues throughout the film, whenever a new year in their lives is shown. Overall, it works to build up to the ending of their relationship. It’s counting down their time together and creating anticipation. Also, the decision to have this story told specifically through a bunch of New Year’s Eves is clever. New Year’s is a period of reminiscing the past and getting prepared for the next year with all its changes. The irony is that this couple doesn’t experience actual change. They just keep containing themselves in this cycle of bitter sarcasm, hateful comments, and mild affection. They are showing nostalgia for the past, but they aren’t moving on with their futures.
Both of the actors in this film (Kristin Jess Rodin and Arthur Berning) gave raw, brilliant performances. To display a love story to an audience is a difficult enough feat, but to also show this relationship as being seasoned to the point of a break up is a hell of a challenge. They had to create a sense of familiarity and an intimacy that is not as fast moving as two people in the prime of their relationship. These are young people, but the relationship is old and if it didn’t come across as such then the film would’ve lost its ammunition. Rodin and Berning were exceptionally believable through the arguments, the lighter moments of nostalgia and every emotion in between.
The sarcastic banter between them always felt natural like a real couple who have been together for so long that their cynicism had grown into a daily element. Some of the things they said to and about each other were fueled with aspects of dark comedy. For example, when they’re each on the phone canceling the party and they make little digs at each other. She insults his talent as a musician and turns his drinking into a problem. He lashes out at the fact that she slept with another man and also references a bad review of her work. The scene is just as easy to laugh at as it is to feel sad over when we actually decipher the depth of those insults. Shaming each other’s talents is a cheap shot, but from the looks of their faces, it hits hard like a carefully planned attack. To think that two people who loved each other, who still possibly love each other, could say those things to one another was tragic to watch. Yet, it felt important to show because these little flaws of a relationship don’t get shown enough on the screen.
My favorite shot in the film is of Marius sitting on the floor after he just walked into the door and hit his head. There is blood on the side of his head and he looks up at her on the staircase. There is this strong connection between that look and there is no music in the background. The way he looks down first and then kind of flutters his lids and then looks up at her is very interesting. I took the feeling of shame out of that image. He was just making out with another girl and when he looks at Ebba, he knows she is judging him. Perhaps, he is as frustrated at himself as he is at her. The way they’re positioned in that scene is telling too because he is on the ground and she is up on the staircase looking down on him. It’s like he is looking to see if they’re still together. The look is almost a questioning of their relationship.
Another great scene was the montage of the younger moments from their love. The fact that he is looking at her from the window is significant. It’s a barrier between them representing the distance that is continuing to grow between them because of a lack of respect and communication. I loved this scene because the video of them shows so many random, casual moments out of their lives. Most of it is silly. Some of it is really sweet and meaningful. All together, it gave me the feeling that I was looking into the private moments of a real couple in love. I could catch a glimpse of why they loved each other. I think this scene was so important to have because it’s a clear reason for why they stayed together for so long. It’s full of emotion and lightness amongst the severity of the approaching goodbye.
With this relationship, there was a chemistry that was maintained to the very end. They’re just sitting outside making casual conversation and yet there is an ease and an allure to how comfortable they are around each other even after they’ve broken up for the final time. They hold each other and comfort one another as another New Year passes. It’s a testament to their history, which is not just going to slip away. I think that is one of the big messages in the piece: that nothing does really ever end. The memories are there and some of the feelings are still there. The relationship is over, but the fact that it happened had an impact on each of their lives.