Director: Alberto Viavattene
Writers: Emiliano Ranzani, Alberto Viavattene
Starring: Mario Cellini, Dèsirè Giorgetti, Roberto Nali
Two prostitutes, mother and daughter, struggle against a mysterious creature who breaks into their house after their john has left.
After that brief synopsis there really is very little one can add in regards to the story or narrative without giving anything away about this eleven minute film. Although the film poster and inspiration might hint at it.
Director Alberto Viavattene reinterprets the general theme of the famous story ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ by Edgar Allan Poe but does so with not only a contemporary kick but also added malice and artistic licence.
No doubt with his hand forced by the short running time Viavattene wastes no time in showing the degenerate filth of modern society and the cinematography perfectly captures this mood with its dark shades and grimy tones bathed in neon red light. However this haste to get to the point may also be a hindrance for many viewers as the brutal events that unfold do so almost without any recognisable context meaning that there is a high probability that MORGUE STREET will be taken at face value as a superficial rape horror, one that will be judged on one base sequence that comes to not only dominate but perhaps define it.
This is a shame because on subsequent watches and analysis MORGUE STREET is much more than this and is in fact a competent (technical) piece of work, particularly its opening act. Sure it completely eschews the traditional mystery element (something that is extremely tricky to replicate in a short film format) and perhaps rather than being seen as an adaption of Poe’s classic it should be taken as a harsh look at the reality of our animal instinct as well as addiction. One in which there very often is no redemption for those who are it’s victims.
Viavattene clearly has talent (which is unsurprising considering he has worked with Paolo Sorrentino and Dario Argento) and is certainly a director to look out for should he ever get his big break into feature films and although MORGUE STREET no doubt made a good calling card for him it is perhaps the most unconventional, anti-commercial show reel for the cast – all of which put in strong performances, English speaking aside.
Undoubtedly this is a short film that will divide, even for myself on the initial watch I was impressed with the technical abilities but left wondering if certain scenes had to be shown the way they were. However the film stayed with me, there is more going on underneath the surface and one has to give the director the benefit of the doubt.
A grim and stark take on an aspect of modern humanity framed around a brutal and bizarre adaption of a Poe penned story. You can make up your own mind and watch the film here.
I watched a free to watch version hosted by the director on Vimeo. This short film is also accessible via the FilmDoo streaming platform and rather surprisingly it looks fantastic not just for a short film but one that is streamed online. It has English audio.