blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Pierre Paolo (1998, Rachel Amodeo)

Pierre Paolo is a five minute short, set in a seaside Italian town. It opens with a simple, handwritten title card, then there’s a montage of the town set to classical music. The action rests on an old woman (Filomena Paletta) sitting on some stairs. Text appears across the bottom of the frame, explaining she’s thinking about her husband, the titular Pierre Paolo. When he appears, he’s a little boy on the beach, playing with a little girl (presumably the old woman on the stairs).

The action cuts to a younger version of the woman (director Amodeo) near the same, or similar stairs, in the town.

While the short raises some unaddressed questions—i.e. does it matter if the footage was all shot contemporaneously—the young boy is played by Pierre Paolo Pegnataro, the young girl by Govanna Saboureault, so is it old found footage or did Amodeo sort of create this nostalgia piece—the questions don’t have any affect on the effectiveness of the short. There are some limitations from the medium; clearly shot on film, it appears to be edited on video with that medium’s too static pauses. But it’s extremely well-edited, the music fits just right, and Amodeo’s composition is excellent.

It’s even better if she did go and stage kids playing on the beach in the thirties or forties or whatever. Those flashback sequences are lovely.

Pierre Paolo has its issues, but they’re from the video (the onscreen text is that always somewhat ugly nineties video editor generated text); Amodeo’s creative impulse is nicely executed. It’s a touching memory visualized. Or imagined. It’s nice work.

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