THE DROUGHT (2011) – The Short Review
Not since David Lynch’s THE STRAIGHT STORY have I enjoyed a film about the charm of an elderly man’s unwavering determination and loyalty. THE DROUGHT, written and directed by Kevin Slack, is a 12-minute short film starring Edmund Lyndeck as Jonas, a senior resident of Brooklyn who struggles with his efforts to sell umbrellas from a small street cart during a summer drought. During his down time, Jonas recollects his life through visions of his late wife Janet (Kathleen Hope Reilly) as a young woman, the only thing that makes him smile during these dry, hot days of summer.
THE DROUGHT is an extremely romantic film, not in the contemporary sense, but in the nostalgic heart-warming sense. Jonas is a good guy, sad and lonely, but he’s pure and true. Lyndeck gives a quaint performance of a likeable old man, stubborn in his ways. Other than the memory of his wife, only one other thing in this world puts a smile on Jonas’ face… umbrellas, especially his first, which holds a special place in his heart and on his wall.
Cinematographer John Paul Clark works closely with director Kevin Slack to create an absolutely beautiful film, shot with a warmth that conveys the dry, summer heat, but still feel comfortable and inviting. The rest of the world around Jonas is happy and enjoying the weather, but Jonas dreams of the rain’s return… and therefor, the return of demand for his umbrellas. Rob Gokee supplies the original music for the film, adding to the overall romanticism of the story.
THE DROUGHT has two primary characters. The first is obviously Jonas, while the second is Marco (Ivan Goris), a supporting character and fellow street vendor. Marco and Jonas are friends despite being each others indirect competition. Marco makes efforts to help out the struggling Jonas, but he remains committed to his umbrella passion, despite his unspoken uncertainty. This friendship adds a level of generational perception, an element of the changing times to compliment the metaphorical use of the seemingly unchanging weather.
As is usually the case with short films, THE DROUGHT won’t be found in any theaters, except maybe for the occasional film festival. With that said, short films are often well worth the time it takes to seek them out and deserve more attention than they receive. Kevin Slack’s THE DROUGHT is gorgeous. It tells a simple but smart and pleasing story without being condescending or too cute.
With that said, I am privileged to say you can watch the film below:
The Drought – short film from Kevin Slack on Vimeo.
The Drought trailer from Kevin Slack on Vimeo.