Director/co-writer Maria Alvarez’s Last Days of the Lab shows us how a short film can act as a living photograph, even if we’re not the ones in the picture. She and co-writer Ethan Newmyer let us glimpse at our lives in a real way.
Today is the last day of business for a family-owned camera and film-processing lab not long after the passing of the family patriarch Hugo (Juan Francisco Villa), mother and daughter Lucia (Arianna Ortiz) and Isabel (Alex Felix) are closing up the store for good.
On this final day, equipment is being sold, and the remaining sentimental remnants are being loaded into the car. Yet, Isabel finds herself distracted by the stickers she placed on an old enlarger and the discovery of a broken old mini-VHS camera, which she’s determined to fix.
“…the last day of business for a family-owned camera and film-processing lab.”
Last Days of the Lab brilliantly captures…that moment. That moment when a chapter of your life is about to be closed, and a new one is about to be written. But this moment is not about what happens next. It’s about the past with all of its memories and nostalgia. It’s a moment of grief not just for the one they lost but also for his dream.
What director Alvarez and writer Ethan Newmyer do so well is tap directly at the heartstrings of those who have been there (which I recently have). The film deeply connected with me without ever having to overplay its hand.
With fantastic performances from its leads, Arianna Ortiz and Alex Felix, Last Days of the Lab does what all dramatic stories should do, and that is to connect with audiences in emotional and poignant ways.
"…connect with audiences in emotional and poignant ways."