Short Film Reviews – Pro-Ana and Parallel Chords

A couple of reviews on some short films., Pro-Ana and Parallel Chords Warning spoilers ahead.

Pro-Ana (10 Mins) – Short Film


A young woman’s journey of recovery and escape from the cult of pro-ana.

Pro-Ana, the film, is a young woman’s journey of escape from the cult of pro-ana, whose adherents deify body dysmorphia and disordered eating. For her, recovery means losing everyone she loves in order to rediscover herself.

Our film, inspired largely by #ThePowerWithin social media campaign, aims to shine a light on this growing and pervasive subculture through a story of strength and self-reclamation.


This short film directed by Ward Roberts and written by Shawn Kathryn Kane, who also portrays the lead character Dylan focuses on as the title indicates pro-ana.

When the short film opens you see a mix of people of all ages, ethnicities and genders sitting in a support group. At first, it is unknown the type of support group it is for. The main character, Dylan (Shawn Kathryn Kane), keeps a journal about food, which leads to the focus being on eating disorders. It is then revealed that it is not in fact a support group to help overcome eating disorders, but to keep the members intact so they do not break the mould, the cult of pro-ana.

When Dylan states that she ate more than she stated she would eat, Maggie (Stephanie Czajkowski) the group leader reminds her of this, at which point Dylan states she will not make the same mistake again. It results in differing looks on Maggie’s face, one of approval, as opposed to Dylan’s apprehension.

Later on, you see another member of the group purging so she will not look puffy in a photo session. While the experienced members of the pro-ana collaborate together to remove doubts Dylan has in wanting to break away from the group, as they say ‘Salvation through Starvation’. By wanting to break away from the group, the group makes Dylan feel as if she is in the minority and an outsider.

It is a pivotal moment in the film as Dylan finally takes a stand to break away from the group, noting that she doesn’t think it’s healthy. The film ends with her eating a Christmas meal, that involves steak and drinking a glass of wine. As she swallows the food, the film goes to black with Dylan having a smile on her face, satisfied with the decision she has made.

The short film at times comes across disjointed, largely by how it has been edited. Regardless, the subject matter, cinematography and haunting music are highlights of this short film.

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Parallel Chords (13 minutes) – Short Film


Parallel Chords (overture) is the true story of a young violinist struggling to assert her individuality amidst the intense pressure of her pianist father and the formidable weight of her own musical ability. Surreal images fill her interior life, and provide her with some escape, until she ultimately breaks free in reality.


Parallel Chords is an exquisitely shot short film, directed by Catherine Dudley-Rose based on the feature length screenplay of the same name. The short film is based on a true story and is dedicated in the memory of the director’s father Raymond (1931-2004).

It focuses on trying to break the mould of a strict family, where a pianist father Lawrence Archer (Bjorn Johnson) has set a path of how his daughter Jacqueline’s (Rachel Ann) future should go, even if she dreams of doing other things, including Uncle Vanya and not playing the violin. Music, teenage pressures, underage drinking and family are themes, which are present in the short film.

Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov holds a major presence throughout the short film. In the opening credits, it states that dialogue from the play has been used; this can be heard through Jacqueline’s internal monologues, as well as her desire to appear in the drama production.

The cinematography and editing are crisp and the cutting between frames of the musical performances and life away from music is done beautifully. In particular, there is a moment towards the end of the short film, when Jacqueline puts her violin in the water and auditions for Uncle Vanya.

As the title suggests, music plays a large part in the short film, story wise and also how people express their emotions through their respective talents. When Lawrence plays alone, his piano playing could be seen as one of anger at times, but when Jacqueline and her violin accompany him, the tone of the music changes to a softer style.

It is obvious why this short film has picked up a number of awards on the film festival circuit. It is a striking film to watch and is one I definitely recommend to see.




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