Written, Directed and Shot by Fabio Guglielmelli The bed is an introspective short film where apparently not much happens. It tells the story of a man; over one night and in one location – his house. The protagonist can’t sleep and throughout the film, we try to understand why – what is going on with this man? It’s about a feeling, it’s about a state of confusion, about an internal conflict. His emotional journey is quite irregular and unpredictable – as happens to us, most of the time really. I wanted to make a short film on a very low budget so I intentionally wrote a story with one actor, no dialogue and one location. It is inspired by similar personal experiences. I wanted to try to portray someone’s internal journey – just through actions. My intention was also to play a little bit with the audience’s expectations and to give them a semi filled canvas to be completed with their own ideas and projections as to what was happening in the story. I tried to create a particular mood with the use of cinematography within the budget and some self-imposed stylistic restrictions, like the use of an invisible second character voyeuristic point of view, the use of two lenses only; and the use of practical lights only inside the house, in order to be able to shoot it over two short summer nights.
Written, directed & produced by Fabio Guglielmelli, ‘The Bed’ is a 06:58 minutes long film chronicling the twilight hours of a man, literally, in both; time and age. Dimitri Andreas who plays the sole character in this film bears the weight of not only his character but also the script. With little to no background score and almost entirely devoid of any dialogues, Guglielmelli carries the huge responsibility of conveying a thought-provoking, evocative storyline centered on themes that aren’t easy to grasp even in textbooks, let alone reel.
Andreas appears to be clearing up what looks like the reminiscence of a day’s celebration. In the solitude of the lonely rooms he has come to inhabit, he goes about with the routine. Guglielmelli’s cinematography is eerie and discomforting in the way it captures the confines of the rooms. From following each move of Andreas, the director ensures we don’t lose sight of him. The background score by Yasmin Kuymizakis & Emmet O’Donnell accentuating the hollowness of Andreas’s life by incorporating the vacuum of it into their music, the duo adds a subtle tenor to the storytelling. The editing is sharp with an intent of making the vast emptiness prominent; and the effect isn’t lost.
However, the crowning glory of this film is in its details. Guglielmelli doesn’t believe in mollycoddling his audience. He gives ample cues to follow the narrative and lingers the camera sufficiently long for you to take notice. He also sets the pace brilliantly in forming a build-up of foreboding trepidation and evokes a constant feeling of walking on eggshells. It’s a masterpiece in terms of filmmaking and Guglielmelli certainly raises the bar with his ingenious detailing, despite monochromatic locations and wispy narrative to follow.
‘The Bed’ requires an alert mind and a willingness to stay long enough to inhale in the complexity of this simple story. Without giving away the plot, the scenes where Andreas is scouting for stashed cigarettes or dumping his medicine chest onto an unused wheelchair or discarding the flowers given are all blanks that can be filled only with a nonlinear thinking. Multiple close-ups coupled with sounds that fill everyday life, ‘The Bed’ constantly carries a feel of haunting to it, making the hair behind your neck stand in anticipation of something sinister or so realistic that you’d much rather prefer the fiction.
Intriguing and introspective, Fabio Guglielmelli’s short film The Bed is a dramatic piece of dialogue-free filmmaking that asks the audience the posit, and answer, all the questions with phenomenally compelling results.
Dimitri Andreas plays a gentleman going about his end of day routines, tidying his flat from what looks like a party, although his outfit suggests otherwise, as he makes preparations for sleep. However, once in The Bed, he seems haunted by events which play around in his mind, keeping a restful slumber an elusive possibility. He attempts to busy himself with other menial tasks and activities, however, the voices of memory are never far away.
Tactful and intelligently filmed, filmmaker Fabio Guglielmelli proves you can do a whole lot with very little. Whilst the narrative is vague and the locations are limited, The Bed still impresses on a cinematic level. Andreas is the focal point for the audience, both in a visual sense and our growing perception of events which may have taken place, a role which he inhabits spectacularly. As he moves through his apartment with all the placidity of a caged animal, a palpable foreboding emanates and we are encouraged to imagine various situations that could explain why this man can't sleep, and why it looks as if a wake has just taken place.
The pacing of the short was brilliant, allowing the atmosphere to slowly boil in the background whilst the viewer is led into a false sense of security. There is a disarming effect to watching an elderly gent walking about his home that perfectly contrasts the possible darker themes at play or to create poignant suggestions as to why he is tidying after what looks like a gathering has taken place. Guglielmelli wants your imagination to start percolating and then run wild, a tremendous filmmaking skill.
Whilst the aesthetic is cleverly delivered, the central performance is captivating, and the premise is a smart one, the lack of a narrative, or rather tangible plot points, is certain to leave many audiences isolated and potentially unsatisfied from a viewing. It's a film that demands you bring as much to the table as it will, and if you can heartily engage then it will have any number of fascinating and entertaining attributes, but if you turn up expecting to be spoon-fed a linear narrative or simple yarn, all you will find is a man tidying, smoking, and doing anything but sleep.
It’s been a long, exhausting day and during the following sleepless night, a process of remembrance and acceptance begins. In the second of our dialogue free shorts, Fabio Guglielmelli, who wrote, produced and directed this affecting film, manages to subtly say much in a short space of time – particularly in his use of sound – amplifying the small tender moments within.