In a very lonely time, filmmaker Samantha Mitchell manages to spin a painful memory into a film that celebrates connection, community, and a love of parties.
The melancholy of isolation is suspended for the brief 14 minutes of this film as an immediate connection is created between audiences and the subjects of RSVP. Each charming and insightful in their own unique way, this film explores the importance of gathering together, told through many different perspectives.
My heart aches for Samantha during her opening narration as she explains her own difficult relationship with parties. But very soon after, a natural warmth settles into the narrative through the interviews she skillfully conducts. In this way, she very nicely incorporates our festival’s theme of “loneliness” with the desire and relief of community. This short documentary has a very cozy pace, lightly bouncing between the homes of her subjects as they offer their diverse perspectives. Their differing life experiences create an all-encompassing picture of why bringing loved ones together is so important to them. The joy of their shared experiences is infectious and uplifting.
This film has wonderfully written narration, beautiful cinematography and seamless editing. Though Mitchell’s passion for this subject is very apparent in her film language, some missing pieces of information prevent me from fully understanding each subject’s particular contribution to what we see on screen. While we see that the food is being served and wine is being poured, for certain subjects, the nature of their get-together would have benefited from more explanation. Fortunately, reading the director’s synopsis of her film filled some of these gaps.
One character’s message is the takeaway of this film, and it could not have been portrayed in a lovelier fashion — “There’s always something you can do…to make people feel like they’re welcome”
Incluvie Film fest review originally published on December 6, 2020