“BODY IMAGE” is a short film that was part of the line-up at The Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego, California. Directed by Kim Garland, and starring Jocelyn Vammer, this film tells the story of a normal woman from all outside appearances that is dealing with severe torment inside. Slowly killing herself to be thin, or to be within the confines of what is considered ‘beautiful’ by social standards.
Many often dismiss short-films and it is difficult for me to understand why. There are many reasons I suppose, it’s possible they have a preconceived notion that without a long run-time or a traditional three-act structure, a short-film cannot provide a complete story. Sometimes a short-film is designed to capture a mood, or to examine a specific scenario, or situation. They can often cover relationship dynamics or be the artistic expression of a message a filmmaker wants to share. Many short features are creative segments of a possibly larger film, and some are simply what they are, complete projects of their own meaning.
“Body Image” blended a few of these elements into a highly impactful silent narrative. Garland, through her direction captures a person’s internal torment with precision. The film opens with a female character in her bathroom. She’s holding a dish of cookies and enjoying them. But you can sense that something imposing is looming over her, and that the mood is not as bright as your first appearances would tell you. On her mirror are pictures of models on various shoots. The common photos we see in magazines and advertisements on a daily basis.
This character we see is attractive. She could be a model herself. Yet inside her mind, she doesn’t feel the same and in trying to ‘keep up’ so to speak with social conventions, she develops a life-threatening eating disorder. Killing herself on the inside while trying to appear beautiful on the outside. This was an impactful message that Garland delivers with an understated force. The tonal shift this film delivers was a perfect representation of the bright facade we give off to others. Countered with the contrasting darker images of our mind as we change from who we really are, to be accepted or fit in.
When the film shifts and the tone changes on an instant, you can feel the weight of this character’s turmoil. The pictures on the mirror change to pictures of her, capturing the misery she is going through internally. The tone of the message is intense. It is well-crafted in its approach, and as a viewer you can connect with the suffering this character is experiencing. The message centers on the desperation of a person wanting to stay thin, but it can be correlated to various other aspects of life and that is why this was such an amazing film.
This film is only a few minutes long yet it conveys more substance than some full-length feature projects and that is something to be admired. Garland is able to create a thought-provoking visual portrait of a person’s mind with a powerful result. It was highly compelling and as each second passes you can sense that everything you see has some meaning, feels purposeful, and it gives the film a rich depth.
“Body Image” was a story that may have only had a few minutes to work with but it didn’t waste a second in its portrayal of this character and it left me sitting in my seat, pondering the message and how it connected to my own life. I highly recommend looking for this film, or reaching out to the creators for places to catch this one because it was a moving story, and without question worth seeing. Kim Garland displays an artistic eye behind the camera, and the result is a short-film that people should watch, and studios should take note of because of its bold, but elegant delivery.
Written and Directed By