June Butler mixes with weird figures made of sand dotting the scorched earth of an abandoned junk yard in Vittoria Colonna’s short film Sandboy, a tale of loss and redemption.
Vittoria Colonna’s short film, Sandboy (2014), is a powerful response to loss and redemption. Drawing on personal tragedy, Colonna honestly and succinctly lays claim to understanding the strength of sisterhood – those unspoken feminine bonds that exist between women propelling them to a deeper understanding of human suffering.
It speaks volumes about Colonna’s directorial skills that such remarkable performances were elicited from each and every cast member – starting with the mutely pleading rawness of Grace (Wallis Murphy-Munn), to the searing empathy of Sam (O-Lan Jones). It is rare to see such torrid chemistry between an on-screen couple but in a few brief moments, Trent (Joshua Burrow) and Grace somehow manage to convince audiences that their relationship is both manifest and real.
Grace lives in a mangled trailer at a remote desert location. This one time junk yard is inhabited by broken sand sculptures – shape-shifting figures, rafts of symbols lovingly created by Grace and somehow imbued with her fractured sense of belonging – silent slaves to the demands of turmoil. The only other occupant is the ubiquitous Sam. From time to time, Grace is confronted by others who witness her shortcomings but fail to see how she is bound to grief by human frailty. A visit from unseen vandals provokes a cataclysmic moment of recognition which prompts Grace to revisit past sorrows.
Colonna herself has known adversity and come to terms with it – connecting learning with growth and inner peace. The most difficult component of evolution is forgiveness – very often the rough justice individuals mete out to themselves is harsher and of longer duration than any condemnation by judge and jury. To err is human. To forgive is truly divine.
Vittoria Colonna has succeeded in producing a most powerful body of work – enough to make the viewer recall moments over and over – slivers of captured light, the depths of sadness, implicit emotions and aching loss. If sorrow united with hope, joined together and became one, this film above all marks its inception. Sandboy is a sea of fragments – monuments to resolve and discovery – an ode to the strength of a fragile spirit rising from the ashes. Life continues.