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“Both of the young lovers have opposing views on where they see their relationship going, and how they feel about tradition”

The Willow is a story of love, romantic differences, heartfelt moments, and much more. The film’s director, Octavian Kelly, excels at keeping the attention of the audience, from scene to scene, without, presumably, much effort. The touch of 16mm film also breathes a beautiful gust of life into this film, frame by frame.The short film presents to us - two young lovers on a date, taking place outdoors. The opening scene displays a large, beautiful tree. Old, yet, full of life. The two characters come from different backgrounds, in more ways than sheer ethnicity. Both of the young lovers have opposing views on where they see their relationship going, and how they feel about tradition.  The young, white man in this film has realized that he has found the woman he wants to marry. He yearns to solidify this desire by following an old family tradition, carving the names of his lover, and his, into a tree, just as his father did when he knew he wanted to marry his mother. His parent’s relationship lasted a long time and the son believes it was because of this specific tradition; the willow tree represents longevity to the family. However, his partner, a young Asian woman, disagrees with his view and tells him not to do it. As the next scene starts, we’re shown the woman wandering off, and the young man, still, beside the tree. It seems Kelly wanted to create a sort of distance between them that was prevalent in their relationship. The young man then carves their names into the tree, without her knowing. Moments later, she returns. They then dance together and say their goodbyes. The woman approaches the tree first, and walks away, creating distance between her and her lover, once again. The screen then goes black, conveying to us that some time has passed, and we hear the sound of a chainsaw. The tree has been cut down. We, as an audience, can presume their relationship did not last. Did the woman know this all along? Is this why she was reluctant to carve their names into the tree? The director leaves a lot of small, subtle breadcrumbs for the viewer to catch onto. Kelly also leaves you to wonder: what happened? Many kudos to director Octavian Kelly, for providing such a -- even if one sees the film as doomed romance - soothing, and, poetic piece.

(written by Casey Robles; cover by Cody Dunne)

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