A character study in loneliness and longing, its shallow exterior hides depths unbeknownst even to its main character
AGGIE (Played by Ita Sypniewska) is a Polish woman fighting-off (or "kill" in her words) the effects of Jet-lag while she smokes outside a coffee-shop in Melbourne, Australia. Aggie is minding her own business when Isa (Nicola Matear) a plucky waitress befriends her while on her coffee break. While they don't exactly hit it-off immediately, they eventually develop a connection. Isa asks Aggie to join her on a shopping spree looking for "nick-knacks". Both girls raid the stores and their friendship tightens, until Isa introduces Aggie to her boyfriend Matt (Shane Savage) and she immediately feels left-out by the couple. Aggie reveals the depths of her loneliness and hints at her feelings of remorse and regret which are probably connected to her life back in Poland.
AGGIE follows the tropes of the "meet-cute" which inherently belongs to the romantic genre, Aggie and Isa's day together goes along very much like a date, during the montage they spend their day in stores, goofing around, hitting bars and getting to know each other, Isa serves as Aggie's guide through the day and for a moment we gets hints that both girls will eventually end-up together, until Isa introduces her boyfriend to Aggie and suddenly she's left alone once again. At one point while walking on the beach, Aggie complains that the water is not so warm and that she came to Australia from Poland looking for warmth. Although she says this in an ironic and jokey way, one can't stop to believe they she means it literally, that Aggie is actually looking for human connection while in a foreign land fa away from hers. When Isa asks Aggie about her plans in Australia, Aggie hesitates to answer as she doesn't even have a job. Aggie mentions how she left Poland "in a rush" and she does her best to hide her discomfort as memories rush her. Just when she's about to reveal why she left Poland she's cut-off by Matt's arrival. The trio play a board-game at the couple's apartment, Matt and Isa begin to dance and Aggie is left to watch, completely left-out. Aggie longs for that intimate connection that Matt and Isa share, there's a moment where it may seem as if she will join them, but she hesitates and gets out of the apartment when the couple leaves for their room. Aggie returns to the streets, alone, roaming on her own while surrounded by strangers. Her loneliness eventually becomes too much to bare and she breaks down. AGGIE is more about the unmentioned backstory and the inner struggle felt by the protagonist, we can only deduce and assume what reasons she may have to be alone in Melbourne, what events could have caused her to live in a self-imposed exile. Perhaps it was a break-up, or perhaps she found herself running for her life, we'll probably never know. Towards the end of the film we realize that Aggie may repeat the same events over and over as she drinks her coffee and smokes cigarettes, becoming fast friends with whomever may run into her, leading to spending the day together as best friends and then never seeing each other ever again.
AGGIE is written by Ita Sypniewska and Abhishek Samariya and Directed by Samariya. The short-film is a minimalist piece with beautiful cinematography (again, by Samariya who served many production roles) and creates an enigmatic portrait of an immigrant woman and the loneliness that comes with arriving at a foreign land and starting from zero once again. At first it is Isa who tries to befriend Aggie (who has her guard up) and when she eventually breaks through her armor, they spend the day together in a montage reminiscent of a date, but then the roles are subverted when Isa neglects Aggie for Matt and Aggie returns to square zero, on her own once again. This is a short-film that is entirely devoted to heartbreak and longing. While the connection between Aggie and Isa remains platonic, it is still painful for Aggie when Isa is swept away by Matt, after an entire day together this is a gut punch for Aggie, and whatever feelings she still harbors from Poland come flooding once again. Samariya's direction is sharp and his camera is always looking for the best composition and framing while also bathing the film in a milky-cloudy cinematography, The performances are the glue that holds everything together, thanks to Sypniewska's enigmatic and wounded portrait of Aggie, who keeps us guessing and does fantastic work with her face and eyes, immersing further into the mystery of her. Nicola Matear portrays Isa as a charming and plucky ball of cuteness that could become best friends in a second with anybody, only to forget them once she grows bored of them. She seems like a bright shinny beacon, but she can be painfully neglectful. Shane Savage has a brief role as Matt, but he also hints at more than just what we see, there's a jealousy he tries to keep hidden, while also recognizing that Aggie should be taken out of the picture before Isa grows bored with him as well. This is a short-film that trades in hints rather than outright speaking its mind, there's always something underneath each character; an ocean that at first glance may seem shallow, but its depths are quite low. AGGIE is a mystery even to herself, we may never know why this jet-lagged Polish girl fled her country nor why she's so alone, but we can always spend one day with her before we part ways.
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