Embers ★★★★½

Wow, this really is a beautiful piece of art.
Very lucky to have an early screener for this. Thanks Bruce.
Beautifully crafted images, wonderful performance, incredible score, these all blend together so well to create a dreamlike, intoxicating film that has an effect that you really hope for from a short.
I won't give anything away but the way this movie used a slow burn kind of technique works so well. Something that I really respect is that while it would've been so easy to see these beautiful locations(the desert) and just film there for the sake of it because I mean, it's so cinematic. But Bruce and his team really made it an integral part of the story that serves the main character and works with the themes.
This is a movie that really rewards rewatching as well. It's a great feeling to sit down for 15 minutes and watch on repeat a few times and start to see how different, very well-crafted shots make you feel and lead to your overall impression of the movie and what the story means to you.
This could've so easily been a nonsensical but beautiful film but because of some excellent direction, this ends up telling a very solid story in a potently emotional and captivating way.
The actress Catalina Carayoa is excellent. She did such an awesome job at different stages and is a big part of why this movie feels so smooth. Something about her presence on screen feels fresh and natural.
The music by Søren L. Schirmer is also great. When those violins came in I knew it was over for me haha. Damn. While the editing is a big part of why this flows so well, the music also has this driving feel of propelling us towards something.
From what I've seen, this is by far my favorite work from Bruce Tetsuya and I think it is just fantastic that he was able to make such a truly artistic and beautiful piece of cinema that also clearly and sincerely tells its story. Can't wait to see what else Bruce and the whole Embers team have to offer because every aspect of this is impressive.
Looking forwards to rewatching it again.

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