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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Juanita Wilson
Igor Sigov, Juliette Gering, Liliya Grechk
Running Time
17 Mins.

 "The Door" Review 
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Easily the favorite to take home the 2010 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, writer/director Juanita Wilson's "The Door" is a beautifully photographed and realized short film that attempts, on both an intimate and an universal level, to make sense of the tragedy of Chernobyl through the eyes of one man, Nikolai (Igor Sigov), whose entire life has been forever changed and doors open and closed by the tragedy that continues to unfold as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear "accident."

The film opens with a seemingly absurd act, the stealing of a door. Why? What seems absurd, simple and even pointless only gains meaning by film's end as Nikolai's purpose is peeled away, poignantly and lovingly.

"The Door" is haunting, with imagery that will haunt your memory long after you've watched film and, yes, it will cause you to reflect on the fragments of memories in your own life that become pieced together only as time moves on.

Perhaps moreso than any other live-action short nominated for the Oscar this year, "The Door" feels like an authentic, naturally developed story rather than a gimmick or a novelty or a social statement. Yes, there is a social statement here...yet, it is birthed out of the true, very real circumstances of Nikolai and his family. As Nikolai, Igor Sigov is heartbreaking and breathtaking and beautiful and wondrous. Early on in the film, he projects an almost comic presence until, slowly, we are invited into the heart and the soul of this man who seeks to understand events that may very well be beyond comprehension.

Tim Fleming's photography is warm and intimate, Susie Cullen's production design captures both the intimacy and the universal natures of the film's subject matter. The original score from Brian Doyle gives "The Door" a haunting, brooding feeling that never lets the viewer forget that within this larger than life tragedy dwells innocent men, women and children.