REVIEW: Student filmmakers touch your hearts with ‘Reminiscence’

Photo courtesy of Bluestem Studios

Photo courtesy of Bluestem Studios

Bluestem Studios are bringing another marvelous piece of short film from Shocker Studios. They have released several short films on their YouTube channel, such as “The Trap House,” “June,” “Intruder Alert” and their most viewed release, “The Bhen-Jah-Man.” 

With each video they release, they test the waters of a different genre. “Bhen-Jah Man” is a horror film, “Trap House” is a documentary about growing up and “June” is about a girl’s struggle with drugs. With these differentiated plots in mind, I was curious about the direction they were going to go with “Reminiscence.” 

“Reminiscence” tells the story of a college couple named Charlie and Mia who had recently broken up. They are a part of a small group with their friends Luke, Jess and Nick. Charlie and Mia try to socialize with their other friends whilst trying not to see each other, but are eventually roped in together with their friends to play a game called Reminiscence, where you draw cards with personal questions on them, which makes you reflect on your past while sharing your emotions, wants, desires and more with the other players. 

The video is ten minutes long and the first half of it is exposition. The way the scene is set, the characters are introduced and the order of events leading to the Reminiscence game is just perfect to get you into the sequence of the game. 

The Bluestem team relied on a cross-cutting technique to unfold the action. This is a filmmaking technique where different scene sequences are edited together to relay as if they are occurring all at once. For the film, it cuts from the friends playing the game, to Nick and Charlie talking about Charlie breaking up with Mia, to Charlie and Mia laughing as Charlie drives them and to Charlie and Mia fighting in a kitchen where they break up. As I write these events back to back, they don’t seem to work well together, but what this film does well is wrap these scenes together as if they were bombarding memories in your mind. All of these scenes are memories Charlie has as he comes to the conclusion that he was happier with Mia in his life, but at the same time, their relationship is over but could come back. The film ends with this uncertainty hanging in Charlie’s future. It makes the viewer wonder what would make Charlie truly happy based on his circumstances. 

Despite this film being only ten minutes, it does a magnificent job introducing character personality. Charlie is sensitive, but grounded on what he feels that he must do, even if it causes him pain in the long run. Mia is quirky, eccentric and engaging while also being quite demanding and flustered when she is upset. They possess good chemistry with each other but they aren’t ready for more meaningful, intimate relationships yet. 

This film really felt like something students on campus would find relatable. If a WSU student were to watch this, they may not appreciate it in its entirety until the second viewing.