Short Film Review: Clayface
Why are we compelled to lust for those we don’t love?
Clayface is a short film written and directed by Giorgio Miraflor, whom also plays the lead role alongside a very game Elysia Bacon.
Clayface is one of those short films that on the second viewing, all the pieces that felt disjointed start making sense. Clayface ends on an, “Oh damnit, I shoulda saw that coming!” sort of twist. It’s not that the first viewing is confusing, but I started picking up on the little intricacies the second time around. I always appreciate attention to the little things.
Miraflor’s character, Clayface, is a cabaret performer that is caught in an endless cycle of performances and performers that come and go (and it seems like those performers really do come and go). Clayface wears his inner struggle beneath a cheeky personality that we watch develop in conversation with Bacon’s character Rey. Rey is the newest female lead for the show.
Clayface attempts to woo Rey into a night out at the bar, which Rey swiftly denies, and instead proposes a picnic the next day.
Clayface drinks away his sorrows and wakes up in the next day naturally late for his picnic date. At the picnic, Rey reveals she’s quitting the cabaret show to follow her dream of being a dancer.
The two are seen in bed before their final show together. Rey exits and it is revealed that Clayface has a wife back home…
Shame. Shame. Shame.
The film ends with the final scene of the cabaret show, where a man swoops and scoops Rey from Clayface, who is left standing alone on the stage. There can be a ton of inherent symbolism, but it’s best if you come to your conclusions as to what is being said here. I’ll get to my takeaway in a moment.
There’s a few small rubs on the film from a technical standpoint. There’s an awkward music cut in a scene change. The lighting in the picnic scene isn’t up to par.
My biggest frustration is the audio of the dialogue, which doesn’t carry well, specifically with Clayface. The audio is clear but very narrow.
The dialogue and delivery is fairly believable. Miraflor provides a simple script that puts less attention on the words and more focus on the nuances of facial expression and body language. Bacon plays Rey with a sprite jubilant aura that’s endearing, but very alarming, especially to any guy already in a relationship.
Miraflor does a nice job of not rushing through conversation by making at least three different facial twitches before speaking his line. While that sounds weird, it helps present the notion of Clayface’s apprehension. This really isn’t who Clayface is, but he can’t help it.
Apprehension is a resonant theme throughout the film.
The highlight of the film is the inner monologue that is pictured as silent movie text on the screen. This is where that apprehensive mindset portrayed through Clayface is developed, showing he is in fact, self-aware.
Lust gets the better of Clayface, and so leaves me with the enduring question, “Why are we compelled to lust for those we don’t truly love?”
Is it the thrill? Is it ourselves? Is it a sign?
Or are we really just animals?
Clayface seems to think the latter, and I’m not sure he’s entirely wrong.