Iridescence is an incredible show of ability. The actors, or, rather, the dancers who act, truly personify the guiding emotions with which they wrestle over the course of this eight minute short film.
Somehow, writer-director Maxime Beauchamp successfully depicts the story of a child who loses his mother, comes out of the closet, and day-to-day deals with an emotionally abusive, homophobic father figure, all through breath-takingly lit, simple sets, tattooed words, and expression of body.
Many people hear “experimental film” and follow it up with a groan, and possibly an eye roll, if they’ve got any energy left after the first part. Iridescence could either be the exception to this general response, or the film that changes the reflex altogether, for some people. This is not an abstract film where one must project themselves onto what are essentially rorschach-like images. This is a semi-experimental film with a clear narrative. One could argue it’s better qualified as a silent film than an experimental film. Except silence is the last thing one remembers after seeing this. Although there is no dialogue, it’s filled with atmospheric yet cinematic music.
Armando Fierro goes the subtle route. He fills each scene with atmospheric yet genuinely cinematic music; however, even the score’s most climactic moments only serve to buoy characters’ emotions. This creates a satisfying sensation that maybe, unlike with so many other films, every department was on the exact same page, and they knew their part. Editor Duy N. Bui, production designer Mayra Ometto, director of photography Kang Park, and choreographer Danielle Gardner don’t just fill in the gaps left by those in the principal roles, they occupy not only the same space, but the same amount of space.
Strength in numbers, I guess.
My only great fear for this film is its name. “Iridescence” is not a common word, and titles typically serve as a first impression and general indication of a film’s tone and genre. What “iridescence” suggests (the aesthetic of the word itself, rather than its actual definition) is something pretty yet difficult to penetrate. Ironically, this is Iridescence to a tee. Unfortunately, people will only understand that if a lack of easy access, no immediate invitation, intrigues them rather than turns them off.
There is hope in another stereotype about experimental film. Nobody’s blasé about experimental film. They love it, or they really do not. It’s hard to think that from those who love the genre, they won’t wholly embrace Iridescence.