Logline: A young married couple brings two of their single friends out to Palm Springs for a long weekend. It does not go as planned.
A standout short from this year’s SXSW festival is Michael Mohan’s Pink Grapefruit, which premiered at Sundance in January.
A couple (Matt Peters and Nora Kirkpatrick) arrange a blind date of sorts in Palm Springs for mutual friends (Wendy McColm and Nathan Stewart Jarrett) that goes awry. Mohan and co-writer Chris Levitus take a stock premise and make it feel fresh and invigorating by quickly establishing deep emotional stakes for the lives of characters we have precious few minutes with.
We are left slightly disoriented not knowing exactly where the suspense is coming from. Should we be trying to follow the journey of the set-up friends or be paying attention to the eerie stares from the couple who initiated the set-up?
Mohan has directed two features, Save the Date and One Too Many Mornings. They both premiered at Sundance and were character pieces that dealt with emotional dysfunction.
The cool desert cinematography with colors that pop, authentic performances, and especially the sound coalesce to make Pink Grapefruit a heartrending 11-minute journey reminiscent of Antonioni. Highly recommended.