DFF '15: H. (Rania Attieh/Daniel Garcia)

by Mara Norman

With a nod to the Helen of Troy myth H. begins with a quote from Homer’s Iliad.

“Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed. 

You will never be lovelier than you are now.

We will never be here again.”

This simple story unfolds structured as a four part short story; with minimal pacing interior scenes contrasted with views of exteriors landscapes, lake reflections, snowy fields and unusual cloud patterns as sci-fi elements begin to emerge.

The story follows two different Helens in present day Troy, New York. The first Helen’s attentions focus on a newborn baby doll named Henry. She care-takes the doll as one would a new born baby; she changes his diapers, wakes for middle of the night feedings and takes him shopping.  She posts on-line photos and tips for care of the baby. She also attends support group mixers where others bring their newborn dolls. The second Helen is a pregnant artist. She and her husband create in-your-face contemporary artwork combining medical practices and documentation of their own, at times, volatile relationship.

Sci-fi components begin to filter into the story at times resembling The X-files or The Leftovers. A meteor explodes with a loud ringing noise in town, glasses shatter and a large Helen of Troy stone head appears in Lake George. The mysteries are not only exterior with mass disappearances occurring in conjunction with the meteor, but interior mysteries haunt the characters with aspects of grief lurking below the surface. The two stories co-mingle in the shared landscape of Troy. News reports on television offer a narrative backdrop that structures the unusual events as they unfold. The mood of the film is one of mystery and beauty. At times the images resemble large paintings or film stills, slowing down the story, offering the eye time to connect to the visual elements on the screen.

This film was directed by two talented filmmakers who received support for this micro-budget film from the Biennale College Cinema – an organization that helps emerging filmmakers with support for film production, development, completion, film screenings and distribution in a year-long project; this allows the small film to reach a broader audience through film festivals.