“Things are both precisely and not at all as they appear”
It’s often us—not the people we care about—who we hide our past secrets from in order to get through the day. Our actions—whether the result of youth, stupidity, or complete and utter desire—are what define us; they are what make us into unique individuals roaming this earth with identical quests for happiness to be fulfilled in ways exclusive to our own body and soul. To open oneself to another is to peel away years of isolating guilt and regret, but not because we fear they will drive the other away once the truth escapes. No, to remember who we were is to remember who we are. Sometimes the fear isn’t in revealing what once was but instead for accepting in our own minds what could be again.
This is the tragedy of relationships and the compromises we must make each and every day to prove to ourselves that we want to be where we are. As Jeremiah Kipp’s short film The Days God Slept portrays, that proof isn’t always easy to come by and never untested. We can manifest attractive ways in which to make what we’ve done justified; we can imagine circumstances were sexier than we know they were. Sometimes shrouding reality with a fiction is the only way to give such memories freedom because they need to be freed to reach full transparency with ourselves and therefore with those we love. Trust is an abstract concept that exists in us all regardless of those we’re in contact with. How can they trust us if we can’t trust ourselves?
Written by Joseph Fiorillo and stunningly shot by Dominick Sivilli, the short shifts between the unspeakable horror of truth and the glossy façade used to mask its unavoidably strong impact. John (Malcolm Madera) is in love with Kristy (Lauren Fox) with what he believes is permanence; Kristy wants so much to reciprocate but cannot stop thinking about where she’s previously gone to satisfy her needs and quiet her demons. Who she is now—whether it’s who she has become or who she’s finally allowing herself to be—is far from a lie towards John, but she can’t ignore the fact it might be to herself. And as those feelings start to rise, a familiar face is seen in the distance to unhinge every inch of careful reconstruction she had thought unshakeable.
The film descends into the taboo topic of past sexual relations as the loud beats and shiny surfaces of a strip club are introduced as John and Kristy’s venue for connection. It’s a toe in the water to see how he may react to learning she was a dancer with regular customers—to find her sexuality allowed her to love whomever crossed her path for the length of a song. But as his discomfort grows and her ability to rip down layers and expose what this stylish, visual metaphor really describes speeds up, we can’t help knowing the exact conundrum faced. Everyone wants to know everything and nothing about the person they share their life with and it’s hard to argue against choosing to trust the unknown won’t repeat rather than the known.
Faith in things without concrete evidence is easy because we mold it to our own ideals and needs. We believe God has a path for us, occult figures cause chaos, and good and evil will clash until the end of time, but our response to learning what the person sitting next to us is capable of isn’t as clear. John wants a real life of sunny days in the park where he has a modicum of control while Kristy brings him into her fantasy to lay everything on the line knowing her past won’t simply go away. And as the park bench transforms into the blue-tinted lights of a stripper poled stage we see what occurs in the gaps of God’s watch. And we learn that while the truth can cleanse the fearful, it can also break the fearless.