Music Box

Molly finds herself in a strange room. As she tries to understand why she's there, nightmare and reality bleed together.

Genre: Other

Length: 27:29

Free To View

4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Antonio Azzurro,

Director/s : Simon Richards, 

Writer/s : Simon Richards, 

Actor/s : Rachel August, Samuel Bossman


Tiny dancer

There are two minutes of credits at the end of this film, not because hundreds of people were involved but because each line takes 28 seconds to crawl up the screen. I mention this only because the credits are the paciest part of this “slow cinema” film.

It starts with two feet tapping to faint melodic tinkle. Is Molly in a music box? No, she’s in a dull brown office. The sound becomes a distant muffled cacophony, like being on a crowded street with earbuds in, but no music, and a heavy scarf wrapped around your face. The soundscape matters – it was done by director Simon Richards, who says “I love the way sound can seep into you like a dream you don’t realise you’re in.” Dream? More like a nightmare.

Molly waits, as if for an interview. A man at a desk does not respond to her questions, even when it seems he might be her ex. It turns out he’s behind a glass screen. Someone else is watching through a peephole in the wall. Her smalltalk becomes increasingly personal, there’s something about ballet shoes she once had, but her words are deliberately indistinct. Then it’s Molly behind the screen, watching herself being interrogated, recounting a nightmare within the nightmare… And a fly buzzes somewhere. Is that a clue?

It is  dark in every sense, and knowingly obscure. It doesn’t have beauty, light or colour – you can’t let images wash over you, nor music, nor poetic words. It demands a second viewing, and still eludes comprehension, so if you need meaning you’ll have to generate it for yourself. Not so much “slow cinema “as “hard work cinema”, admired by people who admire this sort of thing, but leaving most of us cold.