Hamm is blind and unable to stand; Clov, his servant, is unable to sit; Nagg and Nell are his father and mother, who are legless and live in dustbins. Together they live in a room with two windows, but there may be nothing at all outside.
There are five survivors in a futuristic library. Bam is their supreme dictator, and has the others interrogated and tortured, believing them to have said where. What Bam means is unclear, but he distrusts all.
This is a brilliant work, and for me the highlight of the Becket on Film Series. "Play" tells of the horror, the purgatory of broken human relationships. Yes it is banal, yes it is repetitive, but that is precisely the point. The menage a trois depicted has trapped each of the three characters in an endless hell, the same thoughts over and over, the same self-justifications, the same loss. No one can hear the others. Mingella brilliantly shows us in cinema what could never be shown on stage, that this pain goes on forever, to the end of life and even into death. In showing the three urns surrounded by hundreds of others, we see everyone else trapped hopelessly within the tyranny of their private griefs. The most challenging, the most arresting short film i have ever seen. Highly recommended.
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