Written by Mark Anthony Thomas and directed by Mark Anthony Thomas, Shane McFarland, Jordon Rooney, ‘Folded Whispers’ is a 25-minute short film that showcases Thomas’s poetic talents as he returns to the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh to present original poems after a long absence of more than a decade. The documentary short was filmed in front of a live audience.
The film features 17 original poems that include ‘Healing Hands’, ‘Love Rituals’ and ‘Prelude to Heaven’. Each poem deals with a different subject, and Thomas injects such heart and emotion into each of his works that one cannot help but be mesmerised by the works presented. Thomas forces the audience to think about life’s various small and big moments, and he does so in a fresh, unique and highly convincing way.
Thomas comes across as a profoundly spiritual and analytical man, one who meticulously analyses life’s various contrivances and formulates these experiences into resonant sentences that hit right at the soul. While Thomas goes through each poem one by one, a welcome change of pace is provided interestingly. Some of the works are accompanied by Thomas explaining the creative process and his inspiration for the particular poem. It is a joy to see such a master at work, and Thomas makes the film worth our while.
From a technical standpoint, the cinematography and the sound mixing are on point, and the pacing ensures that we, the audience, are completely invested in how each poem unravels. In addition, what also works great in the film is the relationship between Thomas and the audience. With the audience waiting with bated breath, Thomas enamours and impresses them with his work and people cannot help but shower accolades on him. This reaches a crescendo by the end as the audience rushes to embrace Thomas after his final poem ends.
Narratively resonant, moving and above all, powerful in several different aspects, 'Folded Whispers' showcases the talents of a poet in top form. Each poem speaks to the audience in a different way, and it is Thomas’s particular way of oration that really makes each work stand out. Thomas’s poetry is abstract, complex yet emotional, and this surprising mixture gives both the film and the poems their true power. We cannot help but give the film four out of five.