Poignant– is the word that comes to mind to describe the feelings evoked while viewing “Harvest Season”, the 2018 dramatic film-short by Emmy-nominated media journalist and filmmaker Daljit Kalsi. The film paints a vivid, slice of life, portrait of a married couple caught in the tight grip of terminal cancer.
The twosome is found at the pinnacle of their joint struggle, deeply besieged with two conflicting emotions, helplessness and survival, as Elsie, played by Chantey Colet, struggles with her war against terminal cancer, but desperately trying to comfort her deeply caring but outwardly frustrated husband Ed played by Merritt Vann.
The film paints a portrait of despair against the pallet of their loving home–staged in the autumn, Western North Carolina countryside, where Kalsi stiches together perfection. Adding to the rich cinematic emotion is a wonderful film score by Neil Lee Griffin.
Kalsi blends understated symbolism with the use of natural props including a dreary fall season, a lifeless cemetery, multiple pours of whiskey and broken pumpkins, which are accidentally injured and stabbed during the climax of their joint despair.
The story clearly has the water mark of Kalsi’s film-making style which includes passion and honesty, but it’s the effortless depiction of a woman finally coming to terms with her approaching death where Colet’s acting talent shines through. Colet’s character finds herself reaching beyond her pain only to comfort her pregnant daughter Karen, played by Lindley Mayer and her emotionally drained husband Ed (Vann).
Vann, once again congers up another dose of deep emotion which slowly pressurizes the story line– pushing tears from the beginning to the very end. Vann’s versatility as an outstanding actor (Bound, Triggered) completely demonstrates the control he has with character development and versatility.
“Harvest Season” should be considered a must-see during the 2018 highly competitive film festival season. Kelsi has stepped up to be a judge of the Best Short Film division during the 2018 Tryon International Film Festival, October 5,6 ,7. He and his crew will also be on hand during the out-of-competition, screening of their 31-minute, DCP formatted, version of “Harvest Season” scheduled at the newly renovated Tryon Theatre during the three-day film festival.
Production Company: Daljit Kalsi Productions
Writer/Director: Daljit Kalsi
Review by Kirk Gollwitzer, Co-Founder, TRYON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL