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Fighting for Better - Review of the Short Film “Embrace”

The subject of the short film "Embrace" is more or less familiar; a story of struggling to achieve a goal, a story of believing in a dream and fighting to fulfill it. In this film, we are introduced to a mother and daughter from the very first scene, from the opening scene. In the very first scene, Anahera, played by Jaymee Walker, quotes a sentence from her mother. The sentence that is quoted from the mother is:

“My mother always says to me, a tree that stands alone on the mountains with shallow roots, will break and fall to the mighty wind. But the tree who stands tall, with roots than run deep, remains string against the coming storm.”

The quoted sentence is, in a way, a summary of the meaning of the film. The filmmaker intelligently introduces us to the character of Anahera through this personal quote, pointing to the importance of her relationship with her mother and the role her mother plays in her life, giving a spiritual dimension to the character of the mother. Especially since this sentence is quoted in the absence of the mother, it makes us visualize her character in our minds. Generally, in cinema, when characters are not present in the scene and are talked about, their importance and complexity are emphasized. This opening scene, where we see Anahera from behind, not only highlights the role of the mother in this colorful story but also adds to the importance of Anahera herself. Because we can logically relate the mother's address to her daughter and the boxing ring. Since Anahera's face is towards the boxing ring, we can guess that the quoted sentence is related to her desire to win the boxing match. The filmmaker skillfully conveys all of these with a blend of narration and visual language.

The 14:58-minute film “Embrace” successfully captures the audience's interest from the beginning. From this point on, what is planted in the first scene gradually takes shape. We realize that Anahera has a fight ahead of her and needs to prepare for it. For the boxing ring, and for an opponent who is not going to be easily defeated. In the meantime, her mother's illness, who has been a source of inspiration for her daughter from the beginning, takes Anahera's heart also with her mother while she thinks about the fight. It's as if the mother is also fighting another battle, a battle against her illness. This is the main theme of the movie; striving to win, or perhaps striving to present one's best without necessarily focusing on the outcome. Writer and director, Thomas Webster, has tried to move his story forward by focusing on this concept, presenting the story of a girl's struggle to be the best, and the audience accompanies her on this journey. Without shouting slogans, the movie highlights the concept of striving. This concept reaches its climax in the final scene of the fight in the boxing ring when Anahera, facing her opponent's blows, bends down. It is there that she decides to put forth her ultimate effort to knock her opponent down, imagining her mother, who appears to be an inspiration in a way.

Director Thomas Webster

The cinematography of the movie “Embrace” is also in line with the concept it intends to convey. The images are generally presented in a simple and realistic manner, without any tricks or cinematographic techniques. It's as if we are watching a documentary, and the camera follows the filmmaker's hand, constantly following the characters of the story. The filmmaker tries to make the story as realistic as possible. The style of cinematography and the actors' performances all show the filmmaker's tendency not to turn the story into a symbolic film. The filmmaker strives to make his story as real and tangible as possible. This emphasis on realism has led many symbolic aspects of the story to be less highlighted and therefore have a more serious impact on the audience. In cinema, not emphasizing a concept too much and just referring to it and passing by it attracts more attention from the audience. The environment created for the protagonist in “Embrace” is very believable. The games all serve a harmony, and no one's game, even those with a minor role, goes beyond this harmony, and everything is coordinated. The director has succeeded in avoiding the usual temptations of films related to boxing and as a result, has not made choices that would hinder the realism of the work.

cally divided into two parts: the safe space of the home and the boxing gym environment. In the safe space of the home, the focus is mostly on the mother-daughter relationship, and one of the shining scenes is the conversation between the mother and daughter on a bench. Both are sitting with their backs to the camera, facing a vista, facing an uncertain and perhaps frightening future for one and a future that can be like that vast and full of unknowns and trials and a desire to live and fight for the other. The filmmaker is smart in that he does not overemphasize these allegorical scenes. Therefore, in scenes that do not take place in the boxing gym, there is still boxing or fighting and victory in general. It passes through the audience’s mind and engages them for a moment that another world is happening inside Anahera, except for what we see in this safe environment. In scenes related to the boxing gym, the mother's presence is also prominent. The filmmaker's art is knowing how and to what extent to mix these two together.

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