Festival Focus: SIGNS 2023, Kerala / Film Review: Whispering Tears: The shared pain of guilt.
Whispering Tears (2022) is a gripping story about people whose secrets, aspirations, and past are revealed through expository conversation, as said by noted film critic Dipanakr Sarkar.
Dipankar Sarkar, an Indian film critic and an alumnus of FTII, Pune, takes a look at the short film, Whispering Tears (2022), and says “Whispering Tears is a film with bleak insights into relationships and unchallenged assumptions about how relationships supposedly define our persona.”
Whispering Tears (2022), a short film by Mriganka Goswami, is a gripping story about people whose secrets, aspirations, and past are revealed through expository conversation. The film's plot unfolds over the course of one night and concludes with a healing encounter experienced by the protagonist. Nearly every character in this film is playing; they're all trying to make their world work by hiding its flaws and imperfections. Throughout its duration, the film builds tension and catharsis, which reveal the emotional fault lines of the principal characters.
As a woman prepares to leave the city with her lover and young daughter, she receives a call from a hospital where her husband has been admitted. He has had an accident. She has four hours to board the flight and escape from the miseries of her life. But she decides to visit the hospital, and the consequence of her decision will reveal a gritty reality from which there is no escape. In the very beginning, the film seems to be about a woman who is adulterous and afflicted by guilt trip.Then, the filmmaker puts it in the audience’s mind that this might be a tale of redemption. But finally, in the end, it attempts to tell a larger story about the things we do to dodge away from our responsibilities towards one another.
Image: Filmmaker Mriganka Goswami
Whispering Tears is a film with bleak insights into relationships and unchallenged assumptions about how relationships supposedly define our persona. The emotionally chaotic situation of a slowly disintegrating relationship is created by an unsettling depiction of existential desolation in which silences and gestures speak louder and more powerfully than verbal communication. It is a gripping drama that elucidates the complexities of relationships in a contemporary urban setting. It is a slow, precise, and quaint little character study.
The cinematography of the film by Mriganka and Devdeep Ganguly has a design that stimulates reflection rather than diversion, which seems to be as straightforward as his interest in how we alienate ourselves from one another. By keeping the camera on the characters, viewers can delve into scenes and comprehend the characters' subtly fluctuating emotions and turmoil. The framing captures each tiny moment as it flickers across their faces. Similarly, the editing of the film by Ayan Ray and Akash Chakraborty creates a pace where the scenes blend smoothly, creating an unobtrusive rhythm. The sound design by Ananda Gupta creates a sombre aural space with all its nuances, highlighting the psychological stress the character is undergoing. The unwavering performance by Aritraa Sengupta keeps us hooked to the film and allows us to be invested in the emotional crisis the character is experiencing.
Whispering Tears may be a little too languid and restrained, but there’s emotional involvement to be found in its quiet moments and fine-tuned performances. Everything about this film means well, and it is acted with professionalism and commitment. It is an engaging and understated drama with a technical finesse that triumphs in capturing the audience's attention within the tight, twenty-seven-minute runtime it has.
Whispering Tears will be screened in the Short Fiction Competition section of the 16th edition of SIGNS, to be held in Kerala from February 20–23, 2023.