[Review] David E. M. Maire's Short Film 'Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir'

January 29, 2019

Chateau Sauvignon creeps alongside Nicolas, played by Michael Lorz. Nicolas is the son of Patrick, a ruined vitner, played by Sean Weil. The two seem to be the duo behind, what appears to be, a failing winery.

 

We open up on location/environment shots creating the idea that the macabre may be around any corner. We see run down property, some rusted barbwire, a rotting animal skull, and some rundown, no longer in use winery equipment. From there we go inside the winery, specifically the basement. Which in itself does not paint the happiest of pictures. The basement is riddle with dust, mold, cobwebs, dirty dishes. And amongst the clutter, an ailing woman moans in pain. All we see of the woman is her infected and decaying arm receiving a shot. A shot of what? We don't know. What we do know is the used syringe is placed on the disgusting nightstand next a bunch of other used syringes. Next to the used syringes is a bowl of food. Food that doesn't even look good enough to feed to a dog. It's texture looks tough. It's color a reddish brown. If I was a betting man, I'd say it looked like blood. But let's not throw our vitners to the wolves just yet.  As we pull away from the arm, and the nightstand that would make a manly man uneasy, we then see Nicolas. Nicolas begins to dump the remnants of the bowl into a mason jar. Which he then stores in a refrigerator straight out of the 1950s. The already pale Nicolas somehow loses even more color when he sees that the jar he just stored in the fridge appears to be his last that has any sort of substance in it. He sighs and then leaves the basement.  It is now that we're introduced to his father. His father slaves away at a wine press.  He grunts in exhaustion and twists his face just as much as he twists the press. As the juices are pressed through to the barrel, one wonders if that is indeed wine. Or is it something else that is similar to color and consistency? As the scene ends we hear Nicolas mumble something to the effect of, "We're running out..." As he trails off, we see the first emotion from Patrick. That emotion is anger. He slams the equipment to the floor and says, "Enough." As Nicolas walks away, he mutters, "She's getting worse." An already upset Patrick begins to seethe even more. Nicolas exits with a haunting smirk that washes over his face. 

Outside the house now, Nicholas strikes match after match, letting them burn bright and then slowly fade.  What this should tell the audience is that he's probably not the best person to take to parties. As the final match fizzles into a cloud of chemicals, a car begins to pull down the driveway of the property.  It's a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I only bring the make and model of the car up because up to this point, the period in which the story takes place in is still very much ambiguous.  So, it is a confirmation that we are in modern times and not some farm in 1902.  Which is a testament to just how sharp the writing of David Maire (writer/director) has been to this point.  Anyway, where was I, oh yeah, the Jeep.  The Jeep pulls alongside of Nicolas. In the car, a lady and a boy.  First to speak, Katherine, the driver. She asks Nicolas if they are still doing tours of the winery. Though slightly apprehensive, Nicolas agrees to make them his last customers of the day.  Katherine makes moves to park the vehicle.  Her son, Anthony, who seems like he couldn't be less interested in the winery shoots Nicolas a quick look. As Anthony turns his head, we cut back to a reaction of Nicolas. To say the look Nicolas gives to Anthony was haunting would be an understatement.

 

I will stop as to not give away the ending.

 

With a runtime of 13 minutes, Chateau Sauvignon certainly leaves an uneasy feeling.  Writer/Director David Maire certainly achieved his vision of the dark unknown. And what truly makes his vision pop is the complimenting score by Robert Eletto and macabre cinematography by Oliver Anderson. Each shot and sound more meticulously crafted than the previous. My prediction is that we'll be seeing the cast and crew's names become a staple of new Hollywood.

 

Watch the film's trailer below and for more of my reviews, visit ellissinema.com.

 

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