The films of Glaswegian director Lynne Ramsay, including features such as Ratcatcher (1999), We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) and You Were Never Really Here (2017), have often centred on the themes of death, memory and the loss of innocence in childhood.
These ideas were first explored in Small Deaths (1996), a short film written, directed and filmed by Ramsay during her final year of study at the UK's National Film and Television School. The film, comprised of three vignettes, highlights poignant and influential moments in the childhood of ‘Anne Marie’.
As well as the themes explored, Small Deaths shows the building blocks of features that can be said to define Ramsay’s feature filmmaking style, described by 2018 Watersprite opening speaker Mike Leigh as “catching the isolated, crystallised moments” of life. For example, the framing of part, not the whole, of characters and the low amount of dialogue. Ramsay takes an ‘indirect’ approach, telling stories through small, close-up detail – like the visual motifs of the polka-dots in the clothing of Small Deaths.
Similar Early Shorts:
Ridley Scott (1965) Boy and Bicycle