“Sisyphus” (2016) – a Sunday Shorts Review

Theatrical poster for SISYPHUS (2016)

Reshuffle most of the crew of the upcoming indie feature Delusion (recently reviewed on Loud Green Bird) and bring back Jami Tennille as one of the leads and what happens? Astoundingly (but not unexpectedly), another amazing piece of work from the filmmaking community of “Hollywood East.” The dramatic short Sisyphus marks the directorial debut of veteran actor and screenwriter David Graziano, who stars opposite Tennille in Delusion. And what a debut it is.

Luminous cinematography by DP Nolan Yee captures the conflicted relationship of two artistic young women, Gretta (Tennille) and Marlene (Diana Porter). In a story written by Bryan Casey and scripted by Christopher DiNunzio, the two close friends try to take the next step in their relationship. But like Sisyphus, they might be rolling a boulder up a hill just to watch it roll back down again.

Tennille brings the poise and presence of a Julianne Moore to her role as an embittered woman going through a divorce. Likewise, Porter embodies the very idea of emotional indecision — that “not knowing what you really want” that all of us have gone through at some point. Original music by Steven Lanning-Cafaro (who appears in the film as a guitar player) sets a perfectly mellow tone that both complements and contrasts with the dramatic action of these women’s story as well as the ironic setting in which it takes place.

Like Delusion, Sisyphus has not yet been released. The producers have planned a December launch. In the meantime, look for it on the festival circuit, where it will undoubtedly do very well. And watch for more productions from the talented group that made this film. As far as I’m concerned, they might as well replace any number of well-known Hollywood groups that can’t produce a film anywhere near the quality of this one. Or, to put a positive spin on it, let’s call them the Woody Allen Ensemble North, minus the neurotic shenanigans.

Sisyphus – Official Trailer from Christopher Di Nunzio on Vimeo.