A question for the ladies: what’s frequently late, hangs around for about a week, and is simultaneously annoying and necessary? In Aimee Dixon’s short film “Vivian: A Period Piece,” she is the title character. Dixon’s work is about Vivian’s week-long stay at her friend Erin’s (Drew Dixon) house. As soon as Vivian makes her entrance, you’ll find her to be a little odd. She wears almost nothing but red or pink, is prone to crying fits, and there is no explanation why Erin is still friends with her. Erin explains to her boyfriend Sean (Christopher Scott Cherot) that she has known Vivian since junior high. While Erin also claims that she needs Vivian, there isn’t sufficient evidence to indicate why their relationship is so important. From what the audience understands, Vivian is nothing but a pain. Dixon’s short could very well convey the idea that some people are just too nice for their own good.
“Vivian” is photographed well; the sound quality is very good, but there is something about the story that doesn’t feel right. As the film nears its end, though, a mental light bulb will flick on, and you’ll figure out Vivian’s true identity and why she is indeed essential to Erin. The point of realization is similar to that of an M. Night Shyamalan film. Once you discover the true meaning of the film, you’ll recall all the visual and narrative cues the director leaves, and everything will make sense.
Dixon’s film has garnered much praise at the various film festivals it has entered. It even won the Best Short Film Award at the 2002 Roxbury Film Festival. It’s no surprise that “Vivian” has delighted audiences. Thanks to Dixon’s clever re-interpretation, the phrase “period piece” will now conjure images other than Jane Austen.