The second week of the Stony Brook Film Festival began with the short film “Corners” on Thursday, Sept. 17.
Starring Katherine King, Aida Turturro and the late Lynn Cohen, “Corners” tells the story of a daughter turned guardian of her aging mother. The daughter, a New York interior designer introduced as Madge, struggles to balance work, her children and her responsibilities as a caretaker.
The film begins with Madge speaking on the phone, flustered as she prepares her mother to be left home alone before she goes to work. Madge fusses with her mother, sets out breakfast for her and then puts on music for her. Before leaving the house, her mother calls out to remind her, “Be careful, watch what you’re doing.”
Madge rushes to meet her client, just to find that her meeting was not scheduled until the next week. She returns to an empty house and realizes that she had accidentally left her cellphone inside of the fridge. Still not sure where her mother is, Madge receives a call from her sister regarding her whereabouts and becomes worried, noticing that her mother’s phone was still in her bedroom.
After walking around the neighborhood without finding her mother, Madge returns home to speak to her sister. Her sister expresses concern for both Madge and their mother, whose health seems to be deteriorating. Madge reveals that she wanted to keep a promise to her mother and avoid sending her to a home for elderly people, but her sister urges her to reconsider.
In the extended Q&A made available to the film festival audience, director and co-writer Anthony Nicolau reveals that the story’s plot was based on a script written by the lead actress.
“[King] had this idea based on her own personal experience dealing with her mother and taking her into her own home,” he said.
Nicolau and the cast of “Corners” did an excellent job capturing the changing dynamics between a child and parent as they both grow older and reach new stages in their lives. The chaos, confusion and helplessness that may be felt by children turned caretakers, as well as the parents they are responsible for, is reflected in the movie’s setting, while the hustle of New York City is illustrated through quick video cuts and transitions.
If the production of “Corners” is indicative of the quality of the rest of the films to be released over the next ten weeks of the Stony Brook Film Festival, students and other virtual attendees will not be disappointed. As of Thursday, Sept. 24, the Stony Brook Film Festival is featuring Macedonian short film “Sticker” and the Hungarian feature film “Those Who Remained,” along with Q&A interviews with the filmmakers.