People Eat People
Written & Directed by: Duane Michals
STARRING: Whitney Harris, Derek Stratton
People Eat People is a visually and narratively experimental short by Duane Michals. Making use of a simple two-shot throughout, this 5 minute short explores the tensions, passion and ultimate dissolution of a tumultuous relationship.
The film begins with a shot of a man and a woman, topless, caressing one another’s hair. This is followed by a scene in which the couple are arguing about a letter that the woman has found, which she assumes to be proof of an affair that the man is having. The scene plays out in an interesting, experimental fashion, with what appears to be semi-improvised dialogue, and with several versions of the audio and visuals overlayed on top of one another. This adds to the sense of turbulence in the relationship; and repeated lines of dialogue, which alter slightly each time, bring into question how much of the conversation is based in reality. This sense that all may not be as it seems is further implied when the man tells the woman he actually wrote the letters to her, but that version of her “doesn’t exist any more”. This implying perhaps some kind of dissolution of the woman’s sanity, or perhaps merely that the woman he once knew has changed over time.
Overall, this is an interesting and well-shot film with imaginative use of overlaying technique that leaves the viewer wondering as to the true nature of the relationship, and whether there can ever be such a thing as an uncomplicated goodbye.
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