directed by Paulo Miranda
Written and directed by Paulo Miranda, Anjos das Marquises (Sidewalk Angels), is a 2017 thriller short film that narrates the story of a lonely old man trying to gather the attention of a hospital crew that assists homeless people.
The film beautifully sheds the light on the concepts of urban lifestyles and the indifference of people towards each other.
Shot through an air of melancholy and suspended gloom, the movie follows the old man as he goes through the notions of his quiet and empty life.
As we watch him go about the monotonous routine of his daily life, we can’t help but feel pity for the old man as every shot exquisitely captures the essence of the loneliness the man feels.
Praise needs to be extended where it’s due, and here it is necessary to forward it to the Art Director, Fernanda Carlucci, and the cinematographer. From the opening credit that pans out on the close-up picture of the old man with his late wife, to the transitory frames of the man going through his tedious routine, the cinematographer has made a point in highlighting his profound sadness in sublime ways.
The whole movie has been shot in a blue color gradient that seems to magnify the melancholy, the urban oblivion, and the sense of mystery. Accompanied by the background score, the whole aura of despair and thrill intensifies enough to hold the audience in a trance, holding their breath to find out what happens next.
The sad old man is desperate to find solace somehow. His isolation is tangible in the way it reaches out to the viewers, making them feel for his forlorn. It is evident in the way the man tries to find the ambulance service by calling all the organizations he can get hold of, also the way he is shown interviewing every gateman in the area. He seems to be ready to do anything to fill the void in his life - left behind by the death of his wife - so what could be better than filling it with a noble cause?
The film raises the question mark on the kind of lives people have in a metropolitan city. A city where they pass by strangers every day but never truly notice them until their despair. It makes the audience think of the homeless and their condition in the way that nobody feels their absence if they were to suddenly disappear. It also leaves behind the problematic and heartbreaking drama of human organ trafficking and trade.
It is almost an impossible feast to raise so many essential questions in a 12-minute sequence, but 'Sidewalk Angels' pulls off to do that magnificently. The editing, cinematography, the use of sudden close-up shots on homeless people, then zooming them out of focus in a reflection of their real-life status, together with the music underlying the feeling of melancholy, all come along in an enigmatic yet poignant portrayal of a compelling story.