Two young women, Zuzanna and Emilia, try to find their place in life, but seem to struggle not just with the pull of exploring beyond their hometown, but their connection with one another.
Writer-director Tanmay Chowdhary’s uniquely hybrid of documentary and drama is about living in the margins, the liminal, the space between determinate states: between friendship and romance, fall and winter, light and dark, action and indecision.
The two young women at the heart of the story are close: they seem to live together, drink together and explore life beyond their city. They may be lovers, or simply friends in a close friendship with an almost romantic intimacy.
Yet both struggle with a sense of aimlessness and disassociation, feeling unmoored and untethered. When one of them announces she may want to move beyond their small town to Warsaw, however, the thought threatens to rupture the fragile ecosystem of their friendship, and both must face the idea of being truly alone.
The storytelling in this short hybrid doc-drama is delicate and off-hand in feel, focusing less on concrete words and actions and more on the shifting textures, rituals and details of everyday life, whether it’s the rain on a windshield or sharing a takeout meal in a living room.
It’s captured in poetic, delicately beautiful cinematography, using a washed-out yet painterly palette of colors and shadows to capture a sense of how life is both mundane and yet quietly beautiful for the two girls. When the images are paired with a richly textured sound design, full of snatches of music, nature, city life and voiceover of an interview, the approach seems to suggest drifting through the present with the lens of memory, making for an elusive, elegiac film.
“Color of November” will remind some filmgoers of certain French filmmakers like Chantal Akerman, whose work explores how the narratives of our lives are shaped and structured less by events and more by memories, spaces and sensuous detail. In many ways, this short poetic doc-drama is a meditation about time and memory in and of itself, suggesting that living in the present may also be balanced with a conscious awareness of making memories without being a slave to the past — an approach that retains the precious beauty of the moment while giving it just enough weight to anchor us in meaning.