The hardened detective, a damsel in distress, secrets divulged between cigarette drags on an amber-lit street; these are just a few of the exhausted tropes invariably tied to any film bearing the label “Noir”. Aequanimitas, a short film which follows a therapist as he ensnares himself in his patients’ affairs, defies these chlichés while maintaining the essence of a true Noir. More than its tropes, Noir, as a subset of the incredibly broad “Drama” genre, is defined by pessimism, foregone conclusions, and more bitter than bittersweet outcomes. Aequanimitas embodies these classic qualities while embracing the atypical and unexpected, rendering it a truly original work.
The title “Aequanimitas”, meaning imperturbability, is derived from a medical paper of the same name written by Sir William Osman. In his essay, Osman characterizes the ideal relationship between physician and client as cool and impersonal, believing that only such relationship allows a physician to maintain an even mental state. The film plays on Osman’s philosophy of detachment, positioning John – an emotionally vulnerable character, quick to internalize both validation and censure – as a foil for Osman’s ideal physician. This interplay hints at the greater implication of the film, expressed by co-producer Denis Kirkman-Moriarty, as an attempt to reframe the concept of therapy and patient-therapist relationships. This film considers the ethical line between professionalism and intimacy, highlighting its profound impacts on both patient and doctor.
The film was written, directed, and edited by Denis Kirkman-Moriarty. The film was co-produced by Katya Alexander, the CEO of fledging production company Colorless Queen. It was shot by Boston-based Amanda McGrady. It was filmed in late 2015, on Kodak Eastman XX and Vision 500T thirty five millimeter film stock. Despite the larger price-tag, the decision to shoot on thirty-five millimeter film, and near-exclusively in black and white, came naturally to the filmmakers. The choice rooted the film in its genre and allowed for clever progression of contrast throughout the course of John’s week, mirroring his mental state.
After principle production, the director and co-producer Denis Kirkman-Moriarty refined the film through multiple cuts, scoring decisions, and sound mixes; enhancing the work to a quality evident in the film’s display. Sam Lasko arranged and recorded the three original tracks for the film, and Christopher Marino shaped the film’s sound to great effect. Aequanimitas is currently being reviewed as a submission at several festivals, and its creators are ready for its introduction to a wider audience.
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