Mark (Carlos Bahos) is a rather moody young man who, in the midst of arguing with his girlfriend, flees the scene and tears out in car at a high rate of speed. Not too far away, a young girl (Natasha Machuca) has been summoned home from a playground by her mother.
Perhaps best described as a psychological horror short, writer/director Davide Melini's The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is an incredibly stylish and well photographed film that is captivating to observe but a less satisfying cinematic experience than Melini's last film reviewed by The Independent Critic, The Puzzle. The film opens in a bar setting with a loud musical intro that seems to have little to do with the narrative to follow though, admittedly, I wasn't listening closely to the song's lyrics. While the film is disjointed, there's little denying that Melini has a strong sense of style and a rather remarkable gift for framing scenes that leaves you contemplating them long after the closing credits.
At 16 minutes, The Sweet Hand of the White Rose doesn't really spend much time selling a story as much as it simply goes for the jugular by selling the ways in which the fates of both adult and child are in each other's hands. The film's resolution isn't necessarily surprising, but it's nicely constructed and, working again with an incredibly modest budget, Melini manages to accomplish quite a bit with very little funding.
Filmed in several cities throughout Spain, The Sweet Hand of the White Rose has a very gothic sensibility about it complemented nicely by Jose Antonio Crespillo's camera work that blends both innocence with a horrifying sense of menace. The film's production values are remarkably high given its modest budget, indicating that Melini knows how to maximize his dollar and also has the ability to assemble a talented team around him.
The Sweet Hand of the White Rose has been screened worldwide and captured "2nd Best Independent Film of the Year" at Italy's Indie Horror. For more information on the film, visit the director's website listed in the credits.