Death is inevitable. It's the defining characteristic that makes life so valuable. We all know at some point, at any point, the grim reaper could come for us - so we try to make our existence count. For something... anything. Through children, or even a family legacy of sorts, the goal is to be remembered. Yet through that very goal, we hurt those we love. Not intentionally of course - but it's the living that bears the burdens of the dead. It's the living people left to wrap things up and grieve. In our attempts to make our lives mean something to those around us, we also guarantee pain and suffering. When death comes much earlier than expected, the suffering of our loved ones is that much greater. This is the landscape "Excursion To The Mountains" occupies. The aftermath left for the living.
Written and co-directed by Dermot Daly, there really is no sense of time within this production. Daly, along with Ivan Mack, make sure the productions direction remains a little ambiguous - giving no real clues on just how long it's been since our leading lady lost her husband... or boyfriend. This background information takes a back seat to the current events, as an unknown step in the grieving process is showcased. Just how unknown the plot information is, depends on what you've read... and I'll talk more on that in a bit.
But here's the thing. Aside from piecing together that someone has lost someone, probably way sooner than expected, we really know little else. We are never really given any information. There is a point to this story though - it just so happens it's only given in the description. How can we hold on to the memory of someone without holding ourselves back? With this statement, the needed backstory presents itself clearly. However, what happens if you don't read the description? I didn't, until after the fact. "Excursion To The Mountains" assumes you've read the description. If you did not, you can still get the jist of the story... just.
Yet this was such a mesmerizing short film to watch. The mixture of traditional camera work, and interwoven snaps of experimental images, really gave off a sense of loss for the character - and her attempt to move on. All this wrapped around a short film with no words, allowed Emma Leah Golding to portray this grief stricken woman the way she thought was right. No dialog to hinder the process. Obviously, Dermot Daly and Ivan Mack helped nudge Golding in the direction they felt fit... but in the end, this title was Golding's time to shine. To show off some excellent postures and expressions, that truly play into what was happening onscreen. Nice work.
At the end of the day, the amount of power and even pressure, contained in a film under four minutes, is enough to raise the eyebrows of the most cynical of critics. The experimental structure of the film worked, and generally speaking, I have nothing truly negative to write. As I'm sure you've guessed, my only real concern is the need to read the description before watching. However, even going in blind, you can get the general idea. Just not the smaller pieces that truly make everything fit together.