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The Independent Critic

Jamie Meltzer
15 Mins.

 "Not Even For a Moment Do Things Stand Still" has World Premiere at SXSW 
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It's difficult to describe the experience of watching Jamie Meltzer's doc short not even for a moment do things stand still, a quietly devastating 15-minute short film having its world premiere this week at SXSW. 

While we've seen a myriad of films attempt to explore the impact of COVID-19 over the past couple of years, few have had the impact of this simple, poignant, and remarkable cinematic achievement. 

In September 2021, artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg arrived at the National Mall to create In America: Remember, an installation that bathed the National Mall in a sea of white - a single white flag representing each life lost to COVID-19 in the United States. Meltzer's greatest achievement here is to simply get out of the way and to allow this story, or these stories, to simply exist. The lensing of Mario Furloni and Melissa Langer practically floats us along the field as loved ones visit this remarkable exhibit to look, listen, sit still, grieve, share, and try to make sense out of the senseless. Rather than trying to tell Firstenberg's story or even the story behind this exhibit, Meltzer undeniably knows that the real story here is the story of love and loss, grief and remembrance. We're occasionally privvy to conversations and silences, tears and something resembling anger and frustration. not even for a moment do things stand still is both meditative and thought-provoking, demanding that we pay attention knowing that these lives were real people and not just the numbers we kept hearing day after day after day. 

Meltzer wisely avoids manipulating the scenario. There's no original score to speak of and no special effects are needed. Instead, there are white flags and the people who are left behind. 

Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Doc Short, not even for a moment do things stand still is an unforgettable experience that envelopes you yet does so without the usual political rants or agendas but instead solely on behalf of the humanity. 

Easily one of the best doc shorts I've seen so far in 2022, not even for a moment do things stand still is a hauntingly beautiful reminder of all we've lost as a nation to COVID-19 and of the families whose lives have been changed forever. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic