Monday, 2 January 2012


Life, as random in order and spontaneous in nature it may be, is really just a series of cinematic scenes pieced one after another at the end of the day. The difference between life and a film is really just the lack of a script and production crew. Life is live every minute and second, presented in its unrehearsed raw form unedited and unplanned for. There's perhaps millions of undocumented scenes taking place at any one time around the globe, but nobody will know of them unless witnessed and/or recounted.

So here's one created and told by Director Miles Trahan. And it felt almost as if he (or his DP rather) documented it one day as he's unnervingly chewed upon his sushi and sashimi at the adjacent table in a Japanese restaurant. "Hey guys! I just witnessed a guy being emasculated by his girlfriend at Restaurant Yamaguchi, I'm so going to share it with the rest of the world", I could briefly imagine this in mind after watching his latest short film that's interestingly titled:


A young couple meet at a restaurant. She tells him that she has something to discuss with him, kick-starting a chain of revelations that will bring their relationship to a disastrous end.

On the contrary, no. If you'd read Trahan's directorial statement, it was made clear on the record that it wasn't based upon a true event that happened in his life. His rationale would remain unknown to myself and of course the rest of you reading this. But that wouldn't matter as I'd like to focus on sharing some thoughts of "Emasculation" as a short film proper.

Slamming you right into action without any build-up, preface, background/character development, you begin the first frame viewing She (that's her name) drumming her fingers on her cup of green tea while waiting in a Japanese restaurant in an apparent sense of unease. Also donning on a pair of shades, she's afraid of being herself and felt more comfortable hiding behind something as a facade. Something terrible's about to happen.

Either that or you, like the genre, might suggest that she's having dark circles after a long night.

He (that's his name) turned up in an insincere sense of apology for being late and presented She a bouquet of red roses "as-a-matter-of-fact"ly. One would not be faulted for shifting his/her faith right towards She after this. Soon, He realised something's amiss and casually confronted She on what's wrong.

She began to slowly remove her shades as a gesture that she's ready to brave the music.

In a sheepish tone like a frightened child who'd broken the vase in the house, she revealed that she's leaving him because She "found the male phallus an inherently repulsive organ". This was where the conflict turned out to be a complex one. Not only did She dump He for not liking men anymore, but she indirectly "emasculated" He by her exotic choice of words.

Now, whose side would you be on from here?

The audience member watching this short could be anyone. A male or a female. An adolescent or a senior citizen. Who's right and who's wrong, it's not going to be a black-and-white affair. We see He breaking down in a huge blow of confusion and frustration while She was silently on the receiving end. People would forever be standing by the victims, here I would say that Trahan's building a strong perspective around He and isolating She's response to all his stray questions of rash anger.

It's open to questioning and debate, but I don't think there's a perfect answer in consideration that nobody knew anything about their history prior to the argument in Restaurant Yamaguchi.

Until the waitress caught his attention with her tender care of affection, which would "sort of" allow one some more insights into the personality of He.

There wasn't much film content condensed within the eight minute of running time, but it's admirable how much non-verbal communication the film directed towards its audience. That's what cinema's about in my opinion and "Emasculation" (despite how its title may sound) was a good exercise of that virtue.

Oh yes, on a technical note, I thought there was a little too much "focal-hunting" going on probably due to the wide aperture (iris) shooting adopted. Could have been a little arrested in control to prevent the unwanted distraction although a little of that would be nice too.

Catch Trahan's short film "Emasculation" below in the embedded player:

(Media clips and stills from Magnificent Waste)


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