Director: Matt Paley
Cast: Rachel Trachtenburg, Sasha Frolova
Watch Exteriors online in the UK: Vimeo
We live in an age where videos can be watched on any screen at any time, but despite the rise in on-the-go streaming, short films still struggle to find a wider audience. So every Sunday, we review a short film and tell you where to watch it. We call it Short Film Sunday.
Friendships are built on the tiniest things: joking with each other, walking around town, trying to do animal noises.
Exteriors is a film that understands that: throughout its 11 minutes, almost nothing happens. We follow Sky (Trachtenburg) and Corey (Frolova) as they stroll through the summer haze of North Las Vegas. They smile. They giggle. Mostly, they try to find a way to deal with the intense heat.
Director Matt Paley soaks up the sweaty simplicity of their lives with a brooding humidity. Handheld shots of purple and orange skies blend into static pictures of them sitting by air con units. That closeness extends to the cast. Rachel Trachtenburg and Sasha Frolova are beautifully naturalistic as the BFFs, their bond convincing despite the fact that they have hardly any words to say.
The most powerful act is one that we see in the opening shot: a quiet routine that comes to light when the AC packs up altogether. The whirring hum that has accompanied everything until that point gives way to a gentle silence. As they huddle in the bathroom or bedroom, we can hear the sound of a thunderstorm breaking overhead in the background.
It’s those little details that add to the short’s immersive atmosphere: the tinny music barely audible over their headphones, the innocent “God Bless Our Home” scrawled over the AC switch, the red marks left behind on someone’s skin. The discovery halfway through changes our couple’s behaviour completely – although we see their whole friendship through its filter – and yet it remains unspoken, as with everything else. Like the film, it’s just another tiny building block that makes up life.
After screening at the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, Exteriors was released online on 28th April 2015 through NoBudge.com and has since become a Vimeo Staff Pick.