Short Film Sunday: Gina Lee Ronhovde's Boudoir (2014)

Posted on Sunday, September 6, 2015 by

Before I get into just how amazing I thought this short was, lets get a few technical details and deserved accolades out the way. Boudoir was written and directed by Gina Lee Ronhovde, who is a graduate of the Los Angles Film School. Boudoir has won three awards: Best Dramatic Short - 2015 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, Best Cinematography - 2015 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and the HRIFF Peoples Choice Award: Best Short Film - 2015 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.

I tend to go into watching film shorts with a little bit of pessimism, so I was in a mind set of seeing something forgettable. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film and I will try to discuss it without giving any spoilers. (Which is hard; I just simply love this film so much that I want to talk about everything.)

Colette (Dominique Swain) is a boudoir photographer who works from home due to her apparent agoraphobia. Current client, Rachel (Deneen Melody) starts becoming aggressive in conversation with Colette during their session and things start to take a dark turn. 

Once removing credit time, this runs less than nine minutes and it just flew by. There weren’t any lulls in story telling and didn’t feel rushed, and in short, Boudoir was paced perfectly. Rachel is dark haired, glamorous and confident; she is the opposite of Colette in every way, which helps convey a change in the last third.  These two women portray their characters well and Swain’s acting subtleties show off Colette’s insecurities and make her feel like a real person and not someone found in a Lifetime movie.

I have only one complaint, which is minor. There is a moment where Colette moves in a creepy, somewhat jerky way. This is used in a plethora of horror movies and I feel something else could have been done to portray the same feeling. I don’t know what the budget was, but I will assume it wasn’t large. With that being said I was impressed by how well body doubling was done. I won’t say anymore than that because I don’t want to give anything away, but there are major television shows who don’t do as good of a job. Ronhovde at one point uses the technique of frame-by-frame to show a subtle change in Colette’s mental state. It looks similar to flipping through photos on your camera and while it may be an effect that lasts only two-seconds on screen; it was a unique way of connecting the character’s profession to changing mental state. 

If I had to describe Boudoir in one word it would be beautiful. Beautifully written, acted, lit; beautiful color palettes, and set, and most importantly, beautiful depiction of mental health.

Catch Boudoir at the Chicago Horror Film Festival September 26th and the Twin Peaks UK Festival October 4th.

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