Sometimes we don’t appreciate the work that goes into preparing our loved ones for laying them to rest, In Adam R Brown‘s Former Things, may deliver something. In this weeks Short Sunday Theatre that appreciation comes through post apocalyptic surroundings…
Former Things we meet a threadbare traveller in a desolate post apocalyptic land who returns back to his childhood home. What he finds his artefacts of his youth but also the plagued body of his recently deceased father.
Former Things is a slow brooding film that deserves your divided attention. Whilst it maybe set in one of my favourite sub genres Post-Apocalytpic , it’s meaningless however death and surviving are the key components of PA. Mourning our loved ones who have died we all have our unique ways of dealing with, sometimes things don’t sink in until you face death. We may desire a quick solution but sometimes death is sadly only option so then you appreciate the work those people who will prepare for that day do for us giving that person dignity.
Here’s The Director’s statement on the Background basis of Former Things…
As post-apocalyptic and zombie genres have dominated mainstream film and television in recent years, FORMER THINGS takes a different approach by portraying how customs involving death and mourning would realistically transpire amid fantastical circumstances. Drawing on works from Romanian New-Wave directors like Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days) and Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective), I wanted to take a side step from mostly focusing on shock and gore, but concentrate on the subtle moments that might transcend in dealing with a zombie apocalypse.
After attending the funeral of my grandfather, I came to appreciate the tremendous care and work we take in preparing our loved ones to be put to rest at the end of their lives. I asked myself, “What would it be like to live in a world without hospitals, doctors, and funeral homes?” As a result, FORMER THINGS is an austere portrait of an intimate funeral involving a father and son.
Working with my co-writer and editor, Erin Casper, our goal was to unfold the narrative in a constrained and judicious way. To achieve this, we designed a minimalist aesthetic that would eschew exposition and focus instead on the power of suggestion told through a distilled nature. The film plays out as a series of subtle revelations to purposely heighten the tension and mystery behind the circumstances of Alex’s visit. Our main characters’ dilemma is amplified by drawing out strenuous tasks like the act of physically moving the weight of a dead body. To add variation to the near real-time narrative structure, we counter stark reality by weaving in moments of dark humor and tenderness.
Collaborating with our sound designer, Ryan Dann, we set out to create a purely diegetic soundscape to ground us within the language of the film. We combined realistic elements to present a sense of moody dissonance in the post-apocalyptic world Alex inhabits. We also shaped a distinct personality for each room in the house with weather elements and deep vibrations from an antique power generator that pulsate through the floors and walls to resurrect the home as an antithesis to the father’s lifeless body.
Taking staples from the horror and zombie genres, FORMER THINGS pays homage while grounding the audience in a mournful and private series of events.