NEWPORT BEACH 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! A bowl of strawberries is the focus of Sean Sakamoto’s short film, The Reception. Two fathers, Robert and Gary (Richard Kind and Skipp Sudduth), find themselves in a bunker after the military bombed their sons’ wedding. The results are a ruined wedding and the death of their sons.
Gary is furious that the wedding ever occurred, while Robert is fixated on the strawberries they ordered for the reception. It is implied that this particular bowl of strawberries was the primary reason the wedding took place in the middle of a civil war and why the reception was bombed as well. But was this death and destruction worth it? That’s when Robert recounts the Buddhist story Gary’s son, Ben, told him called The Monk and the Tiger.
“…Robert is fixated on the strawberries they ordered for the reception…the primary reason…why the reception was bombed…”
The Reception is an actor’s piece with riveting performances by Richard Kind and Skipp Sudduth. Skipp Sudduth’s rage of losing his son and the civil unrest happening outside stands in stark contrast against Richard Kind’s Zen-like perspective about life and living and his sense of loss—all thanks to a bowl of strawberries. It’s an interesting perspective for one to take as the world crumbles around them.
The acting is only enhanced by Sakamoto’s effective use of the short film format. His opening shot alone sets the stage perfectly for the anxious conversation between the two fathers. He creates the perfect dramatic tone important for the film’s poignant moment at the end. It’s a brilliant short film, and I wouldn’t be surprised if The Reception finds some love if we have an awards season this year.
The Reception screened at the 2020 Newport Beach Film Festival.
"…an actor’s piece with riveting performances by Richard Kind and Skipp Sudduth."