“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” So the saying goes. In Lola: Girl Got A Gun, it’s a question of who pulls the trigger. This quiet, contemplative short follows a young girl in a nondescript part of the American Heartland. Her older brother seeks to protect her as best he can while her mother attempts to maintain a cheery mood. Her father—the loud, brash and reckless center of conflict—introduces her to her first gun. As the film goes on, it’s clear that that’s not his best choice.
“Her father—the loud, brash and reckless center of conflict—introduces her to her first gun…”
Director of Photography Nadia Irshaid Gilbert has an attention to space and symmetry that reflects the supposed stability of this life on the range, and the foreboding of the film’s climax. From carefully centered shots to clean geometric positioning of sets and characters, the little girl’s world is perfectly neat…until it isn’t.
As things round into Lola: Girl Got A Gun’s conclusions, we’re confronted with the complexities of domestic dispute. Namely: what is the right response to an abuser and abusive situations? Who must act? And, how does one preserve the innocence of those affected? This may sound super heady. But I do think there’s some credence to these things, as evidenced by the aurally subjective space Emily Elizabeth Thomas creates right before the end credits; it’s not the blast of a gun we hear, but the girl’s own voice imitating the sound. In that moment, we should rightly ask how events are experienced—be it via trauma or in an effort to forget.
Lola: Girl Got A Gun is a quiet-until-it’s-not, well shot short film that is a good proof of concept for something greater down the line.
Lola: Girl Got A Gun (2017) Written and directed by Emily Elizabeth Thomas. Starring Heather Kafka, Edie Yvonne, Justin Arnold.
8 out of 10 Bottles of nail polish