Vivian Kerr, Marion Kerr, Kevin Stidham, Kevin Ashworth, Heleya de Barros
"Lines" Explores the Complexities Between Emily and Charlotte Bronte
It is not possible to adequately sum up one's life in the short span of a mere twelve minutes.
The short film Lines doesn't purport to be in any way an actual biopic of the Bronte sisters, Emily (Marion Kerr) and Charlotte (Vivian Kerr). Instead, it is perhaps something even more satisfying. Lines paints a portrait of the complexities of the relationship between these two famed authors, who penned "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre" respectively.
Lines isn't so much about the Bronte sisters as it is about the lines between them, the lines that were spoken and unspoken and written and unwritten. The film examines as if we are witnessing shards of faded memories the complex relationships, loves, processes and losses that weaved themselves into their lives and their work.
The film is simple, yet it is deeply felt and brought to life in such a way that you feel both satisfied at film's end and yet silently wishing for more to unfold. There is a wholeness within the lines that comprise Lines.
It helps, I suppose, to have two inspired performances bringing this all to life. As the two sisters, real life sisters Vivian and Marion Kerr manage to convincingly embody a fullness and an intimacy that makes the relationship between Charlotte and Emily feel natural and very real. Charlotte had one brother and three sisters, including Emily, all die before the age of 30 due to Consumption and, as such, there's a depth to Vivian Kerr's performance that wears the truth of her life even for those things that don't unfold within the framework of the film. It's not a heavy or a morbid performance, but rather a performance that feels like it has been built layer upon layer.
As Emily, Marion Kerr breathes life into a young woman who seems as if she's wringing all the life she can out of her final breaths of existence. Marion Kerr is an actress who seems able to find the emotional center of every character she portrays, and this portrayal should have Joe Wright knocking on her door.
Lines is written with tremendous simplicity yet conviction by Vivian Kerr, who studied at London's British American Drama Academy and was nominated in 2011 for an Ovation Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Having been previously unfamiliar with her work, a quick review of her filmography on IMDB revealed several short and feature performances along with television work on We Are With the Band, Project Hollywood, Unintentionally Awesome and others. Kerr displays a tremendous ear for authentic dialogue while also embracing a rare gift for the use of pauses and silence.
The film is directed with a disciplined hand by Alexa Hann, who wisely avoids distractions and allows the entire film to focus on the performances and the written word. Lines is beautifully photographed by Eric Hann with appropriately moving original music by Sean Ganser and Stephen Schroeder. Kudos must be given as well for Violeta Reina's production design, which manages to look and feel period appropriate despite the inherent challenges of working on a lower budgeted short.
Lines was an official selection of the 2012 HollyShorts Film Festival and is to be released on Indieflix on April 2nd. Those who enjoy such works, and you know who you are, would be wise to check out this thought-provoking and emotionally revealing film.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic