A poetic, beautifully-shot coming-of-age tale set in the Mennonite community, Joe Nankin’s 15-minute short Deep Blue places its viewers firmly inside the headspace of its lead character as she struggles with finding a balance between respecting her upbringing and desiring a different future. Orbiting around the day of her baptism, Deep Blue follows Eva as she finds herself drawn towards a man outside her community and attempts to hide their rendezvous from her family.
A somewhat wandering narrative which doesn’t seem to concern itself with presenting a beginning, middle or end (it all feels a bit like ‘middle’), Deep Blue might not be the perfect fit for those of you interested in more traditional storytelling. Where Nankin’s film really succeed’s (in my opinion) is in building his on-screen world and making it feel like it not only exists after the end credits have rolled, but that it was existing even before we stepped into the story.
Through never revealing how the seemingly doomed relationship central to his story begins or ends, you’re left with a lot of questions for Nankin – but not in a bad way. The intrigue is intoxicating and the internal discussions the film leaves you with are almost dizzying – you’re desire to find out more perfectly in sync with the desire of the lovelorn Eva
An emotional and beguiling watch, Deep Blue compliments its hazy storyline with some equally alluring cinematography. Shot by Katelin Arizmendi, the cinematographer explains how they approach the photography for Nankin’s short in this interview for the Musicbed blog:
“It turned out to be one of these very small, very intimate shoots”, Arizmendi reveals. “We didn’t have a lot of distractions. Everyone was there for the same reason: to make a film we cared about. I think everyone did it for free, so nobody was checking the clock. Everyone was completely committed to the project and the story…The way we shot it was, we’d light the whole scene and do these long handheld takes. Once I got the style down, it was just me moving around, feeling out the shot, letting the actors control a lot of it. That’s not the standard way of working, and that’s not what I normally do. But it was cool. It was very natural. And it was about letting the actors and their performance guide the camera”.
We look forward to seeing whatever the obviously talented and Nankin and Arizmendi put their talented hands to next – if this short is anything to go by, they look like names to keep an eye on in the future.