Omeleto

Bathtub by the Sea

By Ole-Andre Ronneberg | Drama
A man discovers a mermaid washed up on the shore, then puts her in his bathtub.

Gunnar lives a quiet life by the sea. He works at the lighthouse, where he lives. And his routine is very simple and solitary: he wakes up, eats breakfast, tends to the lighthouse and occasionally takes a bath in a tub overlooking the ocean. Each day passes, marked off carefully on a calendar in his living quarters.

But Gunnar’s routine is disrupted when an injured mermaid washes up on the shore after high tide one day. He tends to the mermaid’s tail, letting her keep wet in his bathtub. But on his bath day, he deposits her back into the sea. But he soon discovers he misses her presence, though he may have lost her for good.

Written and directed by Ole-Andre Ronneberg, this lovely short fantasy-drama captures the tension between sticking with what we know and breaking out of our routines. Gunnar’s life is profoundly pared-down and quiet, and the first few minutes of the film capture the silences, rituals and horizons of his world. Life at the lighthouse is gorgeous and full of natural beauty, with its clear gorgeous light, horizons of sky and sea and voluptuous banks of clouds, all rendered in exquisite cinematography and editing that luxuriates in the small moments of Gunnar’s life. But it’s also very lonely, and Gunnar has no one to talk to or even be around.

Gunnar’s life changes when a mermaid washes up on the shore. She’s in pain from an injured tail, and Gunnar rushes to get her to his bathtub. He tends to her tail and feeds her, and even spends companionable silence with her. The progression of their companionship is charted with the same even, contemplative pace as much of Gunnar’s life, with a certain matter-of-fact charm.

The old, ramshackle lighthouse-keeper and the lovely young mermaid — played by actors Viggo Solum and Anne Cecilie Ukkelberg with an understated naturalism — make for a sweetly unlikely pair, but they also come to represent the comfort and joy of companionship and an almost primal desire for togetherness. That togetherness, though, is disrupted by Gunnar’s insistence on keeping to the ritualized routine he’s developed during his tenure at the lighthouse.

Much of “Bathtub by the Sea” is silent, as fitting to such a taciturn character and beautifully desolate setting. But it is rich with a quiet sort of magic and enchantment, with a feeling for how the natural environment shapes experience and emotion. But nothing lasts forever, and even nature itself is in constant flux and evolution. The story ends when Gunnar receives some news that will change his life forever, but the conclusion for both Gunnar and the viewer has a sense of hope and possibility. Things change and routines must adapt, after all, but friendship and devotion are the constants that make it all bearable.





You Might Also Like:

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.

CODA

By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.


Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.