There is a specific pain that never goes away. It is the pain that will ever haunt you. It will come whenever you expect it the least; it will be like a shadow always following you, and whatever you do, there is no chance of making it go away. This is the pain that descends upon you when you experience the loss of a cherished individual, be it a child, a parent, or a friend. In 'Swimming with Stones,' we witness a woman grappling with the enduring sorrow she feels long after her beloved daughter has passed away. She strives to find a means of coping, yet every effort appears futile. There is no way to bring her daughter back, and no source of illumination can pierce the darkness shrouding her life.
Liz Bishop's portrayal of the grieving mother is truly exceptional. She skillfully conveys the intensity of her grief through unspoken emotions, encapsulating it in a thousand unspoken words. The film's prevailing atmosphere is one of profound sadness, and to sustain this emotional resonance until the conclusion, Liz Bishop faces the formidable task of maintaining a consistent level of emotion, ensuring that the prevailing mood envelops the viewer like a gentle, continuous rain.
It is a rare privilege to encounter a film that maintains such impeccable balance, where the narrative remains firmly in control and avoids resorting to clichés merely to achieve a sensational climax. 'Swimming with Stones' serves as a flawless example of narrative consistency, a quality that we consistently seek in films. In many instances, the mood of a film is disrupted by intrusive events that seem unrelated to the storyline, and it is entirely conceivable that such interruptions could have occurred here. Nevertheless, Amber Yang has demonstrated her adeptness with the script, crafting one of the most exquisitely poignant and emotionally resonant short films we've had the opportunity to watch lately. For this, she undoubtedly deserves a hearty round of applause from all of us fortunate enough to have experienced the film.
Written by Vlad A. G