Melancolia

Imagine working as a nurse in a hospice and dealing with dying people all the time while at the same time trying to get over the death of your daughter in a school shooting. Sounds a little like letting a deep wound scab over and then ripping off the scab…over and over. Being in a constant state of pain and not ever healing. Sounds awful, no?

After the tragic death of her daughter during a school shooting, Dolores (Alessandra Rosaldo – Instructions Not Included) works as a nurse at a hospice. It is a physically and emotionally demanding job. On top of that, grieving relatives of her patients often mistreat her.

Grief is something that can wear a person down. Often it is unrelenting. Something you cannot get away from. This is especially true for Dolores. Though it seems like she is making it harder on herself. Like she is punishing herself in a way by being around those who are dying all day long.

Because the issue of school shootings has become so pervasive in society today it is normal that the film world is taking a look at the subject. It is the centrepoint of several films over the last decade. This time it is from the perspective of the mother who is left to deal with the death of her daughter. A character study of a woman who takes care of people who are dying but does not want to deal with her own. Or is afraid to thinking that if she does it will the last bit of her daughter gone.

The pacing of Jorge Xolalpa’s film (he wrote it and directed) is slow, but natural feeling due to the nature of the character study. It also brings the viewer into Dolores’s world; one completely ruled by her grief. The more the film goes on you begin to see that Dolores is just like her patients, slipping away from the world a little bit more every day.

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