Disjointed But Nightmarish Imagery in Short Film "A New Born" A Bit Too Cryptic

"A NEW BORN" (2015)
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Length- 10:17
Company:  Rods Pictures & Big Bug Visions Productions

* This film contains female full frontal nudity and would probably be rated "R" if it were submitted to the MPAA for a film rating.

Donna (Gea Martina Landini) is on the run.  She locks herself away in a hotel room, but her attacker pounds on the door and twists the knob to get inside, doing anything he can do to reach her.

The moon rises, and his assault on the door subsides.  Strange lights take his place, piercing the tiny slit between the door and its hinges.

This is just the beginning of what is turning out to be a very, very strange night indeed.


"A New Born", an Italian short film directed by Simone A. Tognarelli, has lofty aspirations.  It aims to be a surreal viewing experience  that taps into a sort of nightmarish dreamscape that obeys its own internal logic.  Unfortunately, the experimental angle is taken a bit too far and there is no discernible narrative that makes sense.  A coda is thrown on at the end, but there's no buildup to it so it just feels like a random reveal.

That being said, some of the individual scenes are quite effective.  Take for instance the tense chase sequence at the beginning, or the inspired stop motion sequence under the light of the full moon, which recalled Universal classics like The Wolf Man.

So there are cool shots and neat sequences here, but there's nothing in the story to connect any of it together.


Writing: 2 / 5.  The script, written by Tognarelli and Jacopo Aliboni, was too experimental for its own good.  What's with the water hitting the ground below Donna's naked legs?  Is she urinating?  Is she pregnant, and her water breaking?  This shot is a good example of the bigger problems of "A New Born": it's just too cryptic, to the point where no amount of analysis could spell out what's going on.  Then, the finale spells out exactly what it all was supposed to mean, and it all comes off as a tacked on way to explain a bunch of random events.  It's not satisfying.
Directing: 3 / 5.  There were some cool directorial choices here, with a particular favorite being the aforementioned stop motion sequence.
Editing: 2.5 / 5.  The pacing is off-kilter, and perhaps that's intended, but without giving us any story to sink our teeth into, it felt like we were floating in a sea of weirdness.  After four or five minutes of it, the film's momentum started to drag.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  The score was extremely intrusive but interesting.  The sound design was layered, but again not much subtlety here.  I felt like the filmmakers were attempting to compensate for the lack of onscreen activity with noise.  
Acting: 3 / 5.  Huge props have got to be given to Landini, whose performance as Donna is pretty fearless.   Michael Segal, as Christo, isn't given a character to play, but a handful of lines to recite.

Final Grade: 2.7 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "A New Born" when it's finished its tour of the festival circuit, and until then follow the creators on Facebook!

Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!