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A drama about one woman’s quest to overcome her anxiety.


Written and directed by Matteo Cerasuolo, ‘Stalemate’ is a short drama film that delves into one woman’s conquest to overcome anxiety. Sophia Danno stars as both the narrative protagonist and the antagonist as she executes a game of chess with herself. Produced almost entirely in black and white, and without any dialogue, the gameplay acts as a metaphor to the woman’s inner angst and turmoil. Despite the film’s low-budget production value, the film delivers its core theme of mental health admirable – with commendable acting by Danno.

Throughout the 3-minute short, which is crafted in the 4:3 aspect ratio, the ill-at-ease protagonist sets about a game of chess with a pompous version of herself. Fearing defeat, the young man attempts to overcome her past dejections and win once and for all. Without spoiling the concluding narrative climax, the film culminates with a sense of hope and a clean slate.

Matteo Cerasuolo has crafted a nifty little short that doesn’t overemphasize it’s subject matter. The audience is likely to interpret the plot in a multitude of different viewpoints, but the salient theme of taking control of oneself is explicit. A subtle, albeit well executed performance by Sophia Danno seals the film’s success – a voiceless performance that is flawlessly portrayed through body and facial movement. Music, post-production and cinematography are of a reasonable standard. The drama would benefit from further insight into the protagonist’s woes – with dialogue exchanges to convey conflict. A worthy watch.

Stalemate Short Film


Runtime: 3 min
Genre: ,

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