The setting is medieval France, and a young knight (Tyler Oakey) has found himself severely wounded in battle. Pursued by his enemies, he escapes into the woods where he captures the interest of a fairy (Sarah Von Ouhl). She comes to his aid, hiding him away in an otherworldly realm as she tends to his wounds. She falls in love with the knight, and as he recovers, his feelings for her are complicated by a previous love.
Mark Bonocore’s The Fay is a silent short film, utilizing score to evoke mood and performance to explore the narrative while filling the frame with lush visuals. The filmmaking is more up to the task of creating and selling this fairy-friendly realm that the characters find themselves in, and despite a lack of dialogue, everything translates just fine. You might add your own personal touches of interpretation; for example, the story might have just taken place in a normal wilderness, and not a fairy realm, but I interpreted it as being both, with the fairies living unseen in another plane that shared that same wilderness.
While I found the film’s production design, costumes and other practical effects to be outstanding, it wasn’t a perfect experience for me. My main criticism was the length of the film; it’s too long for my tastes. For example, there’s a sequence in the middle of the film, where the fairy and the knight are spending time with each other and generally being happy, where I started to get a feeling of, “yes, I get it, we can move on with the story.” Noticing that the score in the background had seemed to start up another loop, I wondered if maybe the film could’ve done with some more trimming and tightening in the edit.
Overall, though, I can’t fault much of the film. The visual composition isn’t always the most interesting, but it’s better than most, and the film evokes an ethereal quality through other means to keep the eye satisfied throughout. It’s an enchanting fairy tale about love, for all the good and the bad that can suggest.
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