THE FADING LIGHT (THEO HUONG DEN MA DI) Image

The story of a man dealing with the loss of his older brother, “The Fading Light” is beautifully shot, using brilliant colors and fascinating lighting, in Viet Nam. Director, Thian Do has created a short film that looks as expensive as a big Hollywood production. It is gorgeous. From the first meticulously framed dusty cobwebs, to the moon over the ocean flashing S.O.S., “The Fading Light” washes over the senses and sucks you fully into the visual story.

It is clear that Thian Do thought very carefully about every aspect of the film. While some shorts come to us as merely a quickly edited trailer for a hoped for feature, “The Fading Light” is a nicely packaged complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Suddenly we care very deeply about characters we have only met moments ago.

My only complaint for this film is the fairly obvious symbolism that is continually thrown at us. This is the kind of symbolism that no one would forgive in a feature, but which can get by in a short as “poignant.” I find such over-the-top imagery annoying in this case. Here is a film that starts with such a tiny incident between brothers (trying to fish a token from underneath the floorboards with chop sticks) but ends with too big of a bang.

However, such symbolism appeals to some, looking for a well crafted, beautifully shot, complete short film. I enjoyed “The Fading Light” very much, and appreciated it as one of the few short films content to be just what it is: short.

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