Re-displacement is a film about memory and trauma, exploring how experiences in our formative years shape our future and our identity in unseen ways. This a high-concept short film that uses sci-fi conventions to explore complex emotional themes in an objective way, but at the heart of this film is a very personal drama. The story explores the ways we supress traumatic memories to protect ourselves, posing questions about whether this is effective self-preservation or a form of self-sabotage. The viewer is immersed into a very volatile world and a predominantly visual journey that replicates the erratic, unpredictable nature of a mind in crisis.
In this exploration of the mind and memory, ‘Re-displacement’ begins with Leo (Nico Miralegro) who is undergoing advanced therapy. Sitting opposite Dr. Michelle (Nathalie Cox), he struggles to remember simple things including how he arrived at the facility. With a slick device around his head in order to aid his treatment, Leo begins with a word association technique, designed to assist with his memory.
As he falls deeper into the therapy, the audience is taken on a journey with Leo into his subconscious in order to delve deep into the root of his issues. Dr. Michelle continues her session as she probes into his past with leading questions and comments. The feeling of confusion and bewilderment is written across his face as Leo wanders from place to place. Cox is perfectly cast as the calming doctor who wants to help him. She continues to do so as Leo becomes seemingly lost in thought and memory.
With each flashing image, a new piece to Leo’s puzzle is revealed and Miralegro’s performance develops from a confused patient to that of frustration and anger, all within a short space of time but never feeling forced. His natural acting brings the character to life in brutal ways, as we find out more about his past.
Beginning in a spacious room full of light, the cinematography shifts through the almost 15 minute runtime as it becomes darker and more bleak. This echoes the feelings of loss and despair Leo feels, up until he’s out in the open again as it leads towards the harrowing conclusion. The film pushes Leo to the brink as he deals with a deep seeded trauma he has tried to forget, it creates a sense of doubt as his memories keep flooding back to him.
Writer and director Lewis Coates has managed to construct a film which has a sense of wonder about it, that feeling of memories and wondering if they are as we remember them. He has made not only his protagonist doubt his own memory, but the audience as well. Re-displacement’s runtime will leave you wanting more, but with so much to say in a short space of time, it’s an impressive achievement which most feature films crave for.
This thrilling short is currently on the festival circuits, having been selected for the Prague Independent Film Festival and the Bolton International Film Festival, and we are sure there’s much more success to come for both the film, and its talented writer-director.
My Rating: ★★★★½
Written & Directed by: Lewis Coats
Cast: Nico Mirallegro, Nathalie Cox, Rosie Gray, Mariah Louca