Film run-time: 13 minutes | Starring Rémi-Pierre Paquin, Anne-Marie Égré, Charlotte St-Martin
Written and Directed by Marc-André Girard, Photography by Serge Desrosiers, Edited by Bernard-Eric Malouin
“12 Weeks“, a 2015 short film by Marc-André Girard, is a recognition of the extraordinary in the everyday—the drama that lies beneath the veneer of quotidian life. Where human presence is marked by personal gestures and subtle revelations, even the most ordinary of circumstances can prove to be richly suffused with meaning. Lilly, an expectant mother, experiences a traumatic event in the restroom of a shopping mall.
Choreographed as a play between the significant and the insignificant, or more concisely, the significance of everyday phenomenon, Girard takes Lilly, her husband Francois, and daughter Lea through various interactions that populate their existence: overheard conversations of trivial relevance; small talk that decontextualizes the grave purpose of an article of clothing; a chat veiled in euphemisms. These moments are sprinkled between instances of incomparable depth, tiny scars that stay well-hidden.
There is an embrace of a shared humanity in both an act of consolation and an act of communal expression, and this lends an elegiac tone to what would otherwise be a pedestrian setting for something of great import. A mall representative, speaking with Lea, reveals her own troubled past as a soother to relate to the girl’s limited understanding of the events that have transpired. A scrawl on the side of a bathroom stall, typically an adolescent mischief, marks its place as an epitaph for a child lost to the world, rendering a sacred quality onto a sterile environment.
As a participant of the ritual and routine of everyday life, it seems all too easy to forget the deeper significance of our diurnal rhythms; the inner drives that shape the world as we comprehend them. Beyond the sheer artifice of all things, most artfully depicted here as the sanitized surface of a mercantile locale, life is omnipresent in subtle but ubiquitous ways. With an offering of the essence of one’s heart, the salience of our existence emerges once again, to rise above the static of the superficial.