Directed by: Daphne Schmon
Written By: Daphne Schmon & Emily Carlton
STARRING: Chereen Buckley
All of Me
All of Me is a beautiful short drama film directed by Daphne Schmon and co-written by Emily Carlton. A rich, complex and poignant piece of work, made by an entirely female crew, the story explores difficult themes of grief, forgiveness and mortality with sensitivity and honesty.
Viv is a talented singer and musician suffering from late-stage leukaemia. When she is informed that her best hope for survival is a bone marrow transplant from a relative, she must face a difficult past and a reunion with her estranged family.
The story is sensitively tackled and the lead character is richly drawn. Viv is a complex woman who is both genderqueer and mixed race; yet neither of these elements are used to drive the story, they merely inform her character. This subtlety in storytelling feels refreshing and nuanced; it is disappointingly rare to see the story of a non-white, non-heteronormative character, let alone one that isn’t specifically ‘about’ either of those things.
Chereen Buckley’s lead performance is superb; powerful, captivating and heartbreakingly honest. She deftly portrays the complexities of the character – veering from emotionally fragile and heartbroken to closed-off and distant, without ever tipping into melodrama. The writing is also to be commended; the dialogue conveys the intensity of each dramatic situation whilst remaining subtle and believable.
Diana Olifirova’s cinematography is exquisite – from the bold camera moves and dramatic lighting of the opening gig scene, to the bleak, washed-out tones and continually moving steadicam shots that follow Viv when she returns home. The movement here underpins the characters’ shifting emotions and uncertain circumstances; every element of the cinematography feels considered and enhances the story beautifully. Many of the shots play out in long takes, with the camera circling around the characters to create continually changing setups – and the fact that compelling drama and watertight pacing is achieved in these circumstances is testament to the skills both of cast and crew.
The opening song, written by Ned Wolfgang Kelly, who also plays Viv’s boyfriend, is, like the film itself, haunting, authentic and heartfelt. All of Me is a rare and stunning piece of work which deserves recognition for its powerful story, excellent lead performance and exceptionally talented female crew.
Watch the Trailer:
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