‘Princess’ is an honest look at a person’s relationship with mortality told through the lens of crime’s deepest underbelly. The film is an intimate experience, taking place in a small room with only three cast members: a young prostitute Princess; her employer Negro and a dead man that Princess plays with throughout her conversation with Negro.
Princess is a young and very attractive prostitute who works for Negro, a man who cares very deeply for her. Negro is almost in love with this young sex worker and lets her words and vices affect his everyday choices. Princess however, only fakes her love for Negro, planning on killing him in order to get out of the criminal life he has forced her to live. She’s an incredibly manipulative character, using the seduction she uses in her professional life to pull Negro in and lure him to succumbing to her.
The two discuss themselves and their relationship, how they collaborate and work together. As the film moves on, Negro’s conversation with Princess becomes a conversation with death itself: a force as seductive and manipulative as Princess herself.
As their conversation shifts to the more serious, the narrative takes on an almost surreal aspect, with dream-like sequences running through the prostitute and her employer’s conversation. These sequences allow the subtlety of the couple’s conversation to become more obvious, the allusion to the discussion of mortality moving to the foreground of the narrative.
The film is beautifully shot, with stunning cinematography and a very impressive use of close ups. The use of colour, particularly the intense variety of palette, ranging from the lighter and happier to the darker macabre shades that reflect the depth of the duo’s conversation, set the tone for the film. It’s this cinematography which allows for the tone of the film to fluctuate between the macabre and dreamscape the director creates. The establishing shot is very telling of the film’s events and truly helps set the tone and precedent for the short.
The film is also wonderfully edited, each frame shifting fluidly into the next which is very crucial to create the dream-like ambience that accompanies a part of the film. The sound mixing and score is also superb and helps emphasize Negro’s relationship with death. My only qualm with the film, is the acting on behalf of the two cast members. Princess can be seen as over the top and foolish, almost as if the actress is trying too hard. It may very well have to do with the actress’ age and the depth the script and director require from her performance: her simply not being experienced enough to understand the seduction and pull of death. The chemistry between the two actors is overall what dampens this otherwise fantastic short for me, with Negro’s love for Princess not being deep enough for the parallels with death to fully take root.