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Midlands Review of Coping

By midlandsmovies, Mar 25 2020 08:13AM


Directed by Brandon Marples


An older man waking up in bed to the sound of birdsong is a gentle start for this new 3-and-a-half-minute short from Midlands writer-director Brandon Marples.

The unidentified man (played with subtle and emotional nuance by local actor Melvyn Rawlinson) stares at the ceiling and then at the empty pillow next to him in a well-chosen God-shot.

From the outset, the film shows someone missing in this person’s life. The absence of dialogue is a bold choice but works well to show an inner sadness. Also, the beginning emphasises how this loss begins even as you wake up, at the forefront of your mind from the start until the end of every day.

Beautiful cinematography from Ed Radford help captures the man’s turmoil and the film conveys the loss using small but important moments from the morning. We see one pair of shoes in the hall and we see the man at an empty breakfast table too.

There are some moments of levity however with the man smiling at a hand-holding couple in the park. A shot of a large oak showing the passage of time as the man deals with his grief and appears to reflect on his life. A sad scene of tooth-brushing has our protagonist close to tears as the day ends. And as per the start of the day, he once again returns to bed alone.

Born and educated in Derby, Brandon Marples is an East Midlands based film director and has captured a deep sense of loss in Coping. The man is carrying on despite his situation yet a melancholy hangs over him throughout this day.

With a lovely performance from the lead, the film is a portrait of looking after oneself despite life’s struggles. Grappling with a bereavement, Coping shows both the difficulty of dealing with death but also focuses on the day to day struggles many face.

A poignant picture with excellent technical aspects, the film is heart-breaking but not without some heart-warming too, hinting as it does at a universal message to take care of each other one day at a time.

Michael Sales

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