Alone (2014)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #305

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Number of Views: Multiple
Release Date: June 2014
Sub-Genre: Poetry/Short
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 2 minutes
Director: Jeremiah Kipp
Producer: Paul Pastore
Production Assistant: Joanna Tomasz
Based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe
Cinematography: Andrea Urbinati
Score: Quentin Bradley
Editing: Kelsey Gall
Studio: Kipp Films
Starring: Adam Ginsberg, Caitlin Davis, Jill Di Donato, Kelly Rae Lagault, Monica Vallero, Brian Uhrich

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Suggested Audio Candy

Massive Attack “Heat Miser”

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One of my oaths as Keeper of The Crimson Quill at the offset was to spread the word about pieces of art which ordinarily may pass you by. I glean as much joy from revealing these hidden treasures to a larger audience than I do gushing over my favorite films from yesteryear and, once in a while, one comes along and knocks me sideways from my perch. Today Grueheads, I implore you to investigate one such diamond in the rough. While I appreciate that we all lead hectic lives and often struggle to see the woods for the trees, there’s really no excuse for not taking the plunge on this occasion as you can watch it twice in the time it takes to receive your Sausage and Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s drive-thru.

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I begin with a poser. What exactly can one achieve in two measly minutes? Not a great deal it would appear. That’s little more than half a bowel movement; barely enough time for your rump to adapt to your cold toilet seat. Attention spans have shortened considerably in recent times; many of us find GIFs long-winded and I hold my hand up on that count. It just doesn’t seem long enough to leave an impression; one hundred and twenty seconds just doesn’t feel like sufficient enough a time-frame right? Firstly, I wish to point you towards Lars Von Trier’s majestic Antichrist which managed to shatter my heart after just a handful of opening frames. It can be done but it’s no small ask.

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Then a piece of art such as Jeremiah Kipp’s Alone shows up unannounced and leaves me downright flabbergasted. It’s the kind of obscurity which many would never become aware of without a significant stroke of good fortune or divine intervention. That’s where Keeper comes in. It gives me unparalleled pleasure to introduce this wonderful short film to the fastest-growing community on the worldwide web right now. I’ll be upfront from the offset; two minutes is not all that it asks from you. Repeat plays are one thing but the food for thought this provides alone should see you good for the foreseeable with no need for rations.

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On one hand it is little more than a reading. Sounding laborious? Then what about if I were to inform you that the recital in question is of one of Edgar Allan Poe’s multitude of masterful works? I sometimes wonder if Poe is watching on from a distant vantage, thrilled to have started the snowball rolling while utterly discombobulated by the Leprechaun franchise. Contemporary literature owes everything to this great man; a true messiah of the macabre and legend among men. Anyone with eyes and a tongue can recite his work but just how many of us can deliver it in a manner that brings each word to life after all these years have passed? If his work were ever in danger of becoming lost in translation then I thank Adam Ginsberg for locating it and returning it safe from harm.

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To say that Ginsberg’s delivery of the verse is pitch perfect is not doing it anywhere near the justice his utterly honest performance demands. He feels each word as it slices through the cold air about him, while we receive similar lashings from the other side of our monitors. One feels alone listening and a blue hue litters the screen, sucking away our welcome mat but holding us firmly in place. Kipp wants us to feel his desolation and, what’s more, Ginsberg acts as exquisite harbinger. By the time he wraps up his verse, I felt a spike of emotion as it was utterly clear that he himself was moved. One could not expect to deliver such prose with authenticity had their lives not have been touched by sorrow and I bought every single syllable that fell from his lips so poignantly like succumbing autumn leaves. Poe did love nothing more than a tale of mourning and Ginsberg fits the bill to the letter. Moreover, on this evidence alone, I can state with hand on heart that this man is destined for legendary things.

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Andrea Urbinati’s cinematography is beyond striking and tells its own tale beautifully while Poe’s prose is being honored so effortlessly. While the chilling air snips around us; Urbinati fills his canvas with flashes of warmth which serve to heighten our yearning further. Suddenly two minutes is enough. As the credits roll we realize just how much there is to ponder and the most wondrous thing is that it will leave its mark on each viewer individually. It will also do so conclusively. I challenge any one of you not to be moved. You may think little of it at first and carry on with your daily duties ruing those frittered two minutes. But I insist that it will have worked its way inside or I’m simply not Keeper.

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Sharing is caring Grueheads; you know the drill. Pass this around like the proverbial dutchie and afford another the opportunity to take a short but potent break from their hectic schedules. My guess is that they will thank you for it in the long run. In a short time, Alone transported me to entirely another place and pinned me there while it unfurled like the glorious rose that it is. I considered not casting an overall judgement as the fleeting duration appeared insufficient to attempt anything as ludicrous as scoring it. However, after a further couple of chin strokes and another half a dozen views, it became transparent. Most heartwarming of all is that it reinforces my belief that two minutes is ample time to achieve perfection.

Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 10/10

Click here to watch Alone

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Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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