Poetic and heartbreaking, A Late Thaw explores love, grief and hope.  A haunting tale based on the loss of the director’s boyfriend in an ice climbing accident when she was nineteen. Obtuse, and haunting, this is horror of the heart.

Tara (Helena Marie) is a woman who knows what she wants, but when her boyfriend (Lucas Chartier-Dessert) presents her with the perfect house, and a new level of commitment, Tara’s hopes for the future become entangled with her dread of the past. Visions of Glenn, a lover who died years ago, seep into her waking life, invading the spaces where new love could grow. Tara is unable to move forward until she faces the depth of her longing, loss, and guilt; feelings that were lost and frozen deep within her.

The short film begins with Tara, safe, in bed when her boyfriend presents her with the idea of moving into a brand new home to start a new chapter of her life. Tara hesitantly agrees to see the home and and she explores the rooms in the new house she is confronted, in very surrealistic ways, with the man she once loved who died in a tragic climbing accident. Snow drifts appear in the hallways, her frozen lover, languishes in falling snow at nearly every turn.

The movie stays far away from the typical boo scares that this type of material lends itself to. Instead we are made fully aware of our heroine’s oppressive grief and the torment of living on. While not entirely approachable, it is wholly effective in conveying the sadness, the guilt of surviving, and the process of letting go.

It should also be noted that, while a short film, the movie plays against the typical short film tropes. We aren’t presented with the typical structure of a a 10  minute movie; setup and punchline.  This is a slow, meditative, melancholy pondering of saying goodbye. It is a nicely crafted, well-made piece that you would do well to seek out at film festivals.

A Late Thaw, fantasy short drama written and directed by award winning Canadian filmmaker Kim Barr and starring Helena Marie, Michelle Boback and Lucas Chartier-Dessert, is available to screen at the Short Film Corner during the 69th Cannes Film Festival.

ALT_Trailer from Kim Barr on Vimeo.