If there’s anything that we’ve learned “in this trying time,” it’s that we are social beings. We were designed to connect with others. Peier Tracy Shen’s short film, Out of Place, hopes to find connections for two immigrants far from home.
Hui (Sarah Lynn Furman) is a young aspiring Chinese pianist, who is fading fast under the pressure of exams and hoping to do well enough to be asked back the next semester. She’s lives alone in an apartment. Her only connection is her mother, who is a phone call away…albeit on the other side the world.
Chamo (Victor Boneva) is a Mexican house painter who works long hours and sends home his earnings to his wife and son. Today is troubling as Chamo found out his wife, Maria, had an affair, while he was gone.
“…Chamo found out his wife, Maria, had an affair, while he was gone.”
Although Hui and Chamo are adjoining neighbors in the same complex, the two live separate, yet parallel lives. This is a story of connecting and highlights the painful distance immigrants feel when then travel far from home. Hui doesn’t know if she’ll pass her piano exams, and the distance for Chamo makes it virtually impossible to fix his marriage and family. Desperate and lost, the two turn elsewhere for that link they can only get from home.
Out of Place is a 20-minute short film told solely through the emotions of the lead characters as both good and not-so-good choices are made. I absolutely love that the story void of exposition the film’s subtext is said through Furman and Boneva’s performances. What the characters of Hui and Chamo do feels natural to the situation they’re placed and in their desperation. Nothing feels forced, and we know exactly what the two are thinking without a word being said. The final moment between the two is quite poignant.
Shen gives us an example of mature indie storytelling with Out of Place and is ready for a much bigger challenge.