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The Independent Critic

Caitlin Brandes, Michael Chandler
Monika Petrillo
15 Mins.

 "Wink" Set for World Premiere at Dances With Films 
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Writer/director Monika Petrillo is set for the world premiere of her first short film, Wink, at this week's Dances With Films, a tremendous kick-off to what should be a tremendous festival run for the unique, inspired and immensely entertaining 15 minute film starring Caitlin Brandes as Melanie, a lonely and slightly repressed suburban housewife who tries but really can't hide the disappointment when her husband, Gerald (Michael Chandler), forgets their anniversary. 

While Gerald promises to make it up to her, when the chance floats along for Melanie to find the companionship she's been longing for she takes the plunge. 

From beginning to end, Wink is an inspired delight that soars on the strength of Brandes's absolutely delightful performance. While it's always a bit dangerous to make cinematic performances, Brandes radiates an absolutely adorable Amy Adams like aura about herself that is part innocence, part seductiveness and 100% compelling. It doesn't really take long in the film to figure out where Petrillo's going with the entire thing, but Petrillo and her cast and crew keep us watching with a slow reveal that leaves you absolutely thrilled at where the story goes. 

Stephen Dalyai's lensing is impeccable, a perfect blend of playfulness and intimacy that radiates a joy that one might not expect from such a unique story. Mike Horn's production design has a sort of retro feeling to it that adds a nice layer of innocence to the proceedings that makes everything else that unfolds that much more giggly for the audience that will left saying "No? Really?"


The costume design by Kelly Jones beautifully captures both Gerald and Melanie, a seemingly idyllic couple right out of Pleasantville. Ultimately, however, it all comes back to a spot-on perfectly cast Brandes being able to project normalcy against what borders on the absurd.

Mission accomplished. While tasked with serving up a quieter performance, Michael Chandler complements Brandes's performance quite nicely and sells the believability of a relationship that gets the spark it really needed in the wink of an eye. 

For more information on Wink, visit the film's Facebook page linked to in the credits. If you're attending Dances With Films, Wink is definitely a short film you'll want to see.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic