Pentuphouse: ‘Life is like a song’

Pentuphouse: ‘Life is like a song’
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Della (Gillian Jones) definitively ends her relationship with Dale (Aaron Blabey) then performs at a casino.

Gillian Jones, one of the original inspirations for Pentuphouse, dazzles as she wraps up the film with a closing number, 'At Last’ (written by M Gordon and H Warren). She is also framed in a dazzling environment with such an overload of on-screen detail that it looks almost 3D.

The effect of framing, combined with the camera’s zoom out and away from Della, is in part to make her story recede: she becomes part of the background to the gamblers, all that the audience has just seen unknown to them. Given what Della has just done, there is an irony to the song lyrics. It’s a bittersweet ending, with the emphasis on bitter, which focuses on a power shift in the relationship. Although alone, she is back in charge – or was she in charge all along?

Shortland’s next short film, Flowergirl (1999), plays with a similar shift in power and perception in a relationship.

Summary by Kate Matthews