Now streaming on Fandor, Sylvia Borges’ 30-minute Rendezvous highlights fleeting moments of romance and unrequited love. Through a series of seemingly sensual vignettes, the director hides the passion that her protagonist so desperately wants, and its this absence of feeling that unveils a misguided and disillusioned woman.
From the opening sequence, it’s clear that Carla (Daniela Schulz) has physical gifts that would please most men. Her older lover Jacob (Aleksandar Jovanovic) scans her body with his camera, showers her with compliments and then asks her to flash her breasts. When Carla doesn’t, he freaks out, of course. And so, the red-haired beauty is left wondering how to please her new lover. It’s not long until she finds out the secret ingredient to long-distance flings: “Baby please send me a picture of you.” Like so many hopeful admirers, Carla doesn’t realize that she’s only the object of Jacob’s affection, and not the subject of his loyalty. In a futile attempt to inspire a mutual connection, Carla drops her top at work and prepares for a Parisian rendezvous.
The problem, however, is that Carla doesn’t really understand what type of rendezvous she wants. It’s the idea that intrigues her, and the anticipation of true (possible) romance that keeps her pushing forward. She hitchhikes to Paris, but director Borges refrains from showing the harassment that makes Carla bow out of her first ride. She felt something, but we as viewers don’t know the cause of her concern. And when a curious couple picks her up and seeks answers about the trip, Carla can only say, “I have a rendezvous.” She grins sheepishly, but there’s something missing.
Once Carla arrives in Paris, Rendezvous takes on the form of an early Éric Rohmer short. She walks the streets and continuously references her “rendezvous” and, in a way, becomes Rohmer’s bakery girl of Monceau, as she’s undoubtedly heating up the oven, figuratively speaking. But like Rohmer’s Jacqueline, Carla finds that her potential boyfriend is just that — potential. Posturing and sexting doesn’t equate to love, and when the truth knocks Carla down, it’s genuine attraction that picks her up.
Daniela Schulz has the type of star power that turns short films like Rendezvous into features. She brings a softness to her character yet also has raw sex appeal like Julianne Moore. Carla could easily transform into a femme fatale, but in this tale, she’s a fragile visitor in the city of love and doesn’t envision her dreams breaking apart. She just wants that Rendezvous, whatever it may be.
Q.V. Hough (@qvhough) is a freelance writer and founder of Vague Visages. He lived in Hollywood, California from 2006 to 2012 and has bachelor degrees in Communication-Mass Media and History. He now resides in Fargo, North Dakota.