Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Henry K. Norvalls’ barbed (and timely) drama Sweet Things.
The Plot: She’s perfect for the job, but something seems a bit off about the interview.
Ok, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that 2017 has been a trying year. Now, if we’re being completely honest, we’d actually say that between the political strife, the endless string of mass shootings, the near perpetual fear of end-of-days type global conflict and the realization that nearly every single man on Earth who has ever held a position of power is a hyper-aggressive sexual scumbag, 2017 has been the sort of year that leads one to believe that Earth itself has become the butt of some cruel, cosmic joke.
It’s no joke. With any luck, you’ve come to the realization that the only way forward is to learn from our mistakes; and to proceed with the singular goal of rectifying them. So, where do we begin? With ourselves, obviously. But if you need a little help focusing, Henry K. Norvalls’ piercing drama Sweet Things is a pretty damn good place to start. The film follows a young woman as she interviews for a job she’s perfectly qualified for. Set within a hip coffee and pastry shop, the interview proceeds at a casual clip, but there seems to be a certain level of calculation behind the interviewer’s laid-back approach. As the conservation unfolds, a series of subtle and not so subtle slights begin to sully the proceedings.
That’s about as dramatic Sweet Things gets, and that’s sort of the point. This isn’t one of those sexual harassment educational videos with the man groping and pawing and saying patently disrespectful things to a female co-worker. Norvalls and Screenwriter Line Dalheim instead take a low-key approach in their exploration of power dynamics. Sweet Thing is not a film about the gross misuse of power more than it is a simmering look at how easily power can be misused in a real world scenario.
That means the drama throughout Sweet Things stems from questionable word choices, sly invasions of personal space and subtle power plays. The approach works. Behind an exquisitely delicate performance from Renate Reinsve, that approach allows the film’s underlying creepiness to sneak up on rather than smack you in the face. Because it sneaks rather than smacks, Sweet Things makes its point with twice the impact. It’s a point that every man in a position of power needs to take to heart. And if you don’t understand what that point is, well, you should probably do a little soul-searching, ’cause you might be part of the problem.
Meet The Crew:
Directed by: Henry K. Norvalls Written by: Line Dalheim Starring: Renate Reinsve, Preven Hodneland, Per Magnus Barlaug and Ameli Insungset Agbota Director of Photography: Torfinn Rønning Sanderud
We hope you enjoy Sweet Things! And men, we really hope you were paying attention, ’cause even the noblest amongst you are capable of making the same sorts of mistakes. If this relentlessly taxing year has taught us anything, it’s that those mistakes are no longer acceptable-not that they ever should’ve been. If you’ve been watching the news, then you know that the change has already begun … and that it’s up to all of us to keep the ball rolling.
With that, we’d like to tip our hats to Sweet Things director Henry K. Norvalls, who found a way to sledgehammer that message home without throwing dirt in our collective faces in the process. If you appreciate what Norvalls does with Sweet Things, you should head over to his Vimeo page and check out some of his previous work. Just FYI – Norvalls’ 2012 short Shower is highly recommended, and packs an equally topical punch.
While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – team Vimeo has curated for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device … SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting, and you may just stumble across your new favorite filmmaker.