Director Catherine Corman goes retro with her new short film LITTLE JEWEL. Shot on Super 8mm, her film feels like a modern French new wave tale about a woman wandering around Los Angeles following another woman whom she believes might be her long-lost mother. Adapted from the work of Patrick Modiano (a Nobel Prize-winning French novelist), LITTLE JEWEL captures the audience in an 18fps world that feels old and familiar. In some places, the feeling of Modiano’s post-war France is still felt even in the grittiness of modern-day Los Angeles. The haze, jitter, and grain of the film, along with the stoic voiceover gives an ominous and desperate tone to the piece.
As the woman follows the other (on more than just the one occasion too), the audience is forced to ask themselves: to what end? Will the woman have the courage to confront the other about her suspicions? Is it enough to just live the fantasy that her mother might be alive and living in the same city as her?
There is a wonderful and fun cameo by Catherine’s father, the famed-independent film director Roger Corman, and a surprising part in the film by screen legend Jeremy Irons.
The use of Super 8mm as a medium to which the audience views the film makes everything else seem far away; old. The set dressings, the locations, even the clothing on the actors feels like it comes from another time, while if this was filmed on a RED camera, if would just come off as hipster. LITTLE JEWEL is a great example of using the physical medium of film to capture a sepia-colored feeling that wouldn’t be possible to capture any other way, and to use it to transport the audience to another place and time without the use of glitzy special effects.