The Sweet Hand of the White Rose

Certificate: Uncertified
Running time: 16 minutes
Director: Davide Melini
Starring: Carlos Bahos, Natasha Machuca
Genre: Short, Drama
Country: Spain

Following up on the impressive The Puzzle director Davide Melini hit the ground strong and with greater financial clout and screen presence with The Sweet Hand of the White Rose as he looks to build upon the blossoming reputation.  When Mark (Bahos) looks to get away from his everyday grind and a heated argument with girlfriend Mary he flees to the endless possibilities of the open road in order to escape the city but it’s a decision that will change not only his life but the lives of many around him forever.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is a lot more ambitious than director Melini’s previous offering.  Where The Puzzle was almost minimalist in setting and narrative The Sweet Hand of the White Rose spans and spreads itself across several locations (a handful even breathtaking) in Malaga.  For many directors the stepping up in scale is all too often their undoing but for Melini it’s obvious that his transition is not an increasing in his natural talent or vision but is actually a demonstration of his prior restraint.  With The Puzzle he had a certain story, a certain budget and location in which to tell a tale.  His lavish follow up allows for his to roam a little more across the cinematic landscape of directing and demonstrate another string to his bow.

Carlos Bahos gives a solid performance in the role of Mark, the lead role in a short film is a thankless job.  If it works then it’s a case of stating “good, well it was supposed to” and if it falters then it’s your fault.  Bahos, without going into too much detail, has a blind role to play for the audience – an audience that’s a little more clued up that their protagonist and he plays it well.  In a way that garners sympathy without the character coming across as stupid.  Similarly the cinematography has a big part to play in the telling of this story; it has a role in any film, an increased role in any short film and in a film in which the protagonist is a step behind it’s downright critical.

There are some truly beautiful moments in The Sweet Hand of the White Rose, the Malaga landscape unravels before your eyes like the beginning of a traditional road trip film only for the film to twist into a tight turn and on to a dark path.  The latter half of the film looks gorgeous, atmospheric, tense, foreboding.  At times it has large echoes of my favourite ever film, the same film that gave the site it’s name, yet it’s not in a replica/pretending kind of way.  It genuinely has the claustrophobia layered over the natural beauty that is the location to create moving mise-en-shot.

The Sweet Hand of the White Rose has been selected for the final of the Interiora Horror Festival which plays on the 30th and 31st of October in Rome and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s a well balanced and accomplished film with atmosphere and heart to spare.

The Sweet Hand of the White Rose can be viewed below.  For further information on the Interiora Horror Festival click [here].


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