Cayenne Image


By Alan Ng | January 6, 2021

We only have one life to live, and no one wants to spend their last day working at a gas station in the middle of the night located smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Simon Gionet’s Cayenne tells the story of one such person working at one such place.

It’s a quiet night for Clara (Marianne Fortier) during the night shift at the remote gas station she works at until a man walks up to the cashier’s window, asking if the clerk knows anything about cars. Fortunately for Samuel (Jean-Sébastien Courchesne), she does, but the clerk is reluctant to leave the safety of her booth. Feeling pressured to help, she walks him just beyond the station’s bright lights and quickly figures out the problem with the car. As the clerk quickly heads back inside, she is followed by the man she just helped.

“…she walks him just beyond the station’s bright lights and quickly figures out the problem…”

I like several of the movie’s choices. The brightly lit gas station feels safe as the broken car stands just outside its lights. Gionet also makes good use of the large video screen showing the various security cameras throughout the property in telling this story.

Gionet’s Cayenne effectively plays on our fears of the dangers of the night, why we don’t talk to strangers, and the helplessness we feel as if we’re being hunted. The short film goes in narrative directions you wouldn’t expect in cinematic stories to evoke audience fears over creating a thrilling narrative. In his debut as a writer and director, Gionet stirred up my anxieties and had me asking “what’s happening” questions throughout the thrilling eleven-minute runtime.

Cayenne (2020 )

Directed and Written: Simon Gionet

Starring: Marianne Fortier, Jean-Sébastien Courchesne, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Cayenne Image

"…effectively plays on our fears of the dangers of the night..."

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