Ahhhhh. The good old days of film. Black and white, grainy, and with that classic aspect ratio reminding us how new this wide-screen phenomenon really is. Let us be honest here for a moment shall we? Those good ol' days really sucked. For anyone who doesn't happen to be a die hard film buff, the visuals are just plain ugly. That 4:3 squarish aspect ratio? Well reader, there is a reason television screens and monitors now closer emulate the big screen. That "classic" look we associate with old film? It only exists because of the limitations of the technology from yester-year. Both on the production side of things and the broadcasting abilities of the time. So why go back and emulate it? With all that said however, when it's not used to hide an inferior film image, this old school look can actually be quite cool. Take "Stella Maris" as an example. Although presented in this classic form, there is nothing cheap about the way this production was shot. Nicely framed and crafted scenes are so common place in this production, you become unaware you are watching a black and white film made to look old. It made me think, after the fact, if that much care was put into the visuals, so much so that the viewer actually forgets "Stella Maris" is presented as an old film, why bother in the first place? Why not just keep the color, keep the image integrity and carry on? For the casual viewer just happening on this movie, a nicer image, straight from the start would greatly increase the chance of them continuing on with the film; instead of hoping they stick around to appreciate it. "Stella Maris" itself is an entertaining enough film. A widowed woman refusing to accept the fact her son is dying, hoping for some miracle to occur should he sing alongside the church choir. The focus is on the woman herself, Lydia, as she brutally grooms her dying son for the upcoming event. Maybe using the term "brutal" is a little harsh... or maybe not. However, in context with the rest of the film, her brutality simply comes from the fact she believes her son will be alright. Her refusal to accept the dire situation he is in, and how she copes with the inevitable. An interesting scenario for a film. A ambitious scenario for a short low budget film. Adding to the fact it's a period piece, you really have to congratulate writer/director Kalainithan Kalaichelvan. When it's all said and done, this film was a pleasure to watch both visually and conceptually. A feather in the cap for all involved. Technically, aside from what I wrote at the start of this write-up, there truly is a lot to enjoy about this short film. The nicely composed and filmed shots, the great musical scoring and of course... some truly excellent acting from both JoAnn Nordstrom as Lydia, and Maddox Hayward as her ill son Eli. I wasn't a big fan of the old school stylistic choices, as I wrote earlier, but also realize it was just that. A choice... and not a cover up for bad footage. I did however, notice some unusual edits when watching this film. An editor is the unsung hero of film. When they do their job right, we don't even notice the edits. That's the way it's always been. At times during "Stella Maris" however, I did notice a few cuts scattered around. They stuck out like a sore thumb. Here the thing though... I feel like these unusual edits were also done on purpose. I couldn't help notice a feeling of old TV shows like "Little House On The Prairie" venturing through my brain. It was these unusual edits that did it. So I'm willing to leave the editing alone and simply say job well done. Lastly, for my technical rant, I did feel "Stella Maris" was a little long winded. There seemed to be a lot of scenic shots that did nothing for the story, and only added length to the film. For scene changes, a nice shot or two to establish, is one thing. Adding more than that is just filler. It almost felt like there were so many cool shots to pick from, that a decision couldn't be made... and they were all included. I don't know for sure, but that is how I felt about them. In the end, "Stella Maris" is one hell of an indie short film. The locations, wardrobe and props all contribute to a truly entertaining fifteen plus minutes. No doubt about that. As a period piece it's truly remarkable what was pulled off with so little money. My honest thoughts? Film buffs will probably love this title. As will the older generation. As for the younger crowd? I'm not totally sure they would appreciate this film for what it is. I'm also not sure many would even give it a chance. It's a shame. Some excellent work resides within this movie. Some excellent work indeed.