"A young man introduces his girlfriend to his mother for the first time."
I Need To See You is a short film by English filmmaker Danny Sangra about a man who visits his mother to introduce his new girlfriend. Three main characters (one of them invisible), internal and external conflicts, a young love theme, a focus on the unseen and an accent on comedy through surreal dialogue are the main elements of the short.
Staged in urban locations (indoor and outdoor), the short presents an uncommon situation of a man seemingly talking to himself that soon evolves into non-realistic mise-en-scène. Sound design and camera moves help bring the invisible Marianne character alive. Through the choice of staging and character attributes the director has taken what is commonly an uneasy situation and propelled it to the realm of Surrealism.
I Need To See You features plenty of self-reflexive elements related to film, including its mention of film directors, vision, the seen/unseen, etc. And in line with previous films by director Danny Sangra (Odile et Michel, A Lunch Break Romance), it combines romance-themed stories with basic elements from film. The short also seems to pay homage to the French New Wave through frequent use of jump cuts, handheld cameras and a focus on subjects related to young love.
Visual rhythm is high, handled through editing, motion within the frame, camera moves and text overlays. The quality performances by Manuel Severi, Laure Duthilleul and Alix Blumberg Dit Fleurmont are worth noting, too. Their naturalism helps emphasize the absurdity of the situation. Sangra chose expressive actors whose emotions are emphasized through convenient use of close-ups. Camera placements are intended mostly to deliver dialogue as well as to give life to the invisible character. The short features a number of peculiar two-shots and three-shots due to this invisible character. The change in aesthetic in the sequence that starts at 5.18 is worth noting, it works well to narrate what happens to the invisible character as well as continues with the film’s playful tone.
What makes I Need To See You work so well? Highly creative script, unpredictable story with plenty of surprises, expressive performances, fun dialogue and wonderfully surreal humor.