The passage of time and all that comes with it is daunting in its questionable expanse. As a teenager, it is especially frightening to think about all the expectations placed upon you and the fact that you need to quickly decide which ones you’ll meet before you reach adulthood. Sara Eustaquio’s The Funeral explores the feelings of restlessness and worry that bubble within its young leads.
Four friends sit listlessly on a rooftop sharing alcohol and smoking. They are silent as they ponder the expansive world that lies before them. The narrator explains that restless impulses bubble within her, yet she cannot act on them. She wants nothing more than to experience pain, thrills, violence, or some sort of combination of the three. Instead, she lets those feelings die within her via a metaphorical funeral. She dwells on the idea that their youth is limited, and that each day a piece of themselves must die as they approach adulthood. Adulthood requires that they shave off the impulsive pieces of themselves until they are moulded into whatever it is society wants them to be. It is a powerful narrative that rings true for anyone who can recall their own restless youths. Even as an adult watching the film, it’s easy to ponder the words coming from the voiceover – have I really dulled my passions in order to fit into society? Have I really had hundreds of “funerals” for pieces of myself as I’ve grown older?
Visually, the short is rather simple. It primarily consists of the four friends sitting atop the roof and gazing upon the twinkling stars. As the narrator expresses her wishes, a few sepia-tinged scenes of the group pushing each other around in wheelbarrows or bloodying each other’s faces play. The sparse usage of action actually fits the tone very well. The Funeral chooses to emphasize the voiceover and let it take centre stage as opposed to overwhelming the audience visually. The repeated cuts to the four friends staring off into space serve to drive home the themes of overwhelming confusion and their impending futures.
The Funeral may be short, but it inspires plenty of reflection. It is thought-provoking and contains a strong, poignant message. The script is excellently written, and Eustaquio’s directing and writing abilities are worth keeping tabs on as her career grows. She uses visuals sparingly but the heavy emphasis on the provocative voiceover sells the existential themes.