Saturday, December 17, 2005


Christmas Fun With John & Laura

Filmmaker (and "Movies on My Mind" reader) Brendon Connelly sent me an early Christmas gift with an opportunity to see his new Christmas short, John vs. Laura. This light holiday confection is sort of a playful riff on O. Henry's Christmas classic The Gift of the Magi (albeit, with an innocent bit of competition thrown in for good measure) and unfolds against the The Waitresses' fun 1981 holiday song, "Christmas Wrapping." Here's what I really like about this little Christmas film. Understanding the nature of short story telling (much in the way O. Henry and Rod Serling did), Connelly ends his film with an unexpected and humorous twist. Also, with small strokes, and a smart sense of art direction, he is able to visually convey the Christmas season without dialogue. John wears green. Laura is dressed in red. He wraps her gift in shiny red paper with a green bow; she wraps his in shiny green paper with red bows. It's simple, but it says "Christmas." The film also keeps the action in close-up (even the film's climax is a tightly framed shot in front of the Christmas tree), and allows small gestures to reveal individual character traits. John's wrapping technique is hurried and clumsy. Laura's is meticulous, with a sense of flare (she puts two bows on her package, indicating she and John are a couple and underlines her name, on the gift tag, for an added bit of emphasis). You can view John vs. Laura at

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