Watch Irish Short Film: Radha

Radha is a 22-minute drama with horror elements. Director Nicolas Courdouan spoke to Film Ireland about the story behind the film.

 

Radha is an abridged version of a feature film project I have been working on for a couple of years. I really wanted to commit a shorter version to the screen not only as a promotional piece for the project but also to see if, and how well, I could translate my somewhat abstract ideas into a working narrative.

 

The story is primarily about the relationship between our memories and identity. I find that much of who we think we are is informed by our past, but more precisely by what we remember of our past, and it seems natural to think that a person who spent years misremembering a tragedy would have a pretty distorted sense of self as a result. The main character, Saoirse, spent her entire adolescence trying to come to terms with a past tragedy in the worst possible way: By running away from it. She is poisoned from the inside, uprooted and fragile, unable to face her true self. But she can only run away so far and her past is still haunting her. That is when she has a chance encounter with Radha, a mysterious and magnetic dancer who seems to soothe the soul of her audience through ritualistic performances. Saoirse falls for her and attempts to use Radha’s influence over her to heal from her trauma. But of course, there is a price to be paid.

 

 

The film has been described as belonging to the fantasy or supernatural horror genres but I find it more accurate to think of it in terms of cosmicism, or cosmic horror, which is a genre that pits humans against entities or forces that exceed their ability to make sense of the world, and remind them of how insignificant and helpless we all are in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, Radha embodies the true nature of the cosmos: ever-changing, fluctuating between state, impermanent, while Saoirse is someone who seeks to arrive at a final state, to become an imago, an ultimate version of herself. As such she is a corruption, and the only peace she can ever hope to find resides in the complete annihilation of herself.

 

I’m really happy to be able to share Radha with the rest of the world now, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire cast and crew one more time for their work.

 

” evokes the feel of a J-Horror”

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Irish Short Film Review: Radha

 

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Stephen Porzio takes a look at Nicolas Courdouan’s  22-minute drama with horror elements. The short recently had its world premiere at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Providence, RI (19 – 21 August ) and will go on to compete at the Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR (7 – 9 October).

 

A meditation on grief, as well as a nicely twisty and surprising horror, Nicholas Courdouan’s Radha is a rather effective short film. Sue Walsh stars as Saoirse, a woman trying to form a new life in the aftermath of a tragic event, who stumbles upon the enigmatic titular dancer (Kojii Helnwein).

The short benefits from some memorable, well-executed set-pieces. For example, Radha’s central dance would not be as compelling if it wasn’t so tightly edited. The camera lingers on her contorted body, not revealing her face. This is then juxtaposed with the gazes of her gaunt-looking viewers, who she claims she “helps”, creating a real sense of dread, even when the viewer is unaware of what exactly there is to fear.

The clothing and lighting contribute to this paranoid atmosphere. Through the dark moodiness of the room and the way Radha’s black hair and clothes hang off her body, the short evokes the feel of a J-Horror. At times, the titular character resembles Sadako from Ringu, particularly with the unnatural way she moves.

There are moments within the short where the dialogue does not ring true and is delivered rather stiltedly. However, this is easy to forgive when there is so much else to like. The final scene, taking place on a beach, is gorgeous looking, resembling the coastal scenes from the similarly Irish Calvary and The Eclipse. Also as it continues, Courdouan’s film interestingly plays with audience expectation. Radha is less the villain we expect and more a beacon to Saoirse of what the movie’s title translates to in Irish (vision, sight, aspect).

The short also builds an intriguing mystery. Who is Radha and where does she come from? This is something I would be curious to see explored to some degree should Courdouan expand this twenty-two minute short into a feature length.

 

 

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