Indie Shorts: “Nihan: The Last Page” by Tofiq Rzayev
Tofiq Rzayev, an indie writer-director originally from Azerbaijan, came to Loud Green Bird’s attention last year with his horror-mystery short “The Girl In The Woods.” He has released a new short film (again co-written with Erdogan Ulgur) that impresses with its artistic cinematography and sound, minimalist storytelling, and strong acting. “Nihan: The Last Page” is the story of a young writer (Erhan Sancar) who cannot finish the last page of his book because of unfinished business involving the house that he shared with Nihan (Sevgi Ucgayabasi), the love of his life.
Nihan has recently died, leaving the writer and her sister (Alsen Buse Aydin) to carry on without her. However, her spirit remains behind to remind her love of her dying request: that the house they shared together remain their home forever. Until he fulfills his promise to honor this request, he is unable to finish his manuscript, the story of his life together with Nihan. Haunted by Nihan’s spirit, he sets out to do what she asks — which brings him into direct conflict with her sister.
The art that went into making this film is evident from its first scene, which is a long static shot that uses a mirror to create a virtual tracking shot. The sound is equally sophisticated, using the growling of a thunderstorm to set the mood and tone. The dialogue is sparse but terse, concise, and packed with significance. The small ensemble cast communicates as much through posture, gestures. and facial expressions as through words. All of these characteristics add up to an understated meditation on how love endures despite death and worldly impediments.
Disclosure: Loud Green Bird provided this review at the request of Tofiq Rzayev. No financial considerations were involved.