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PRUNING (2023)

Festival: Palm Springs Short Fest '23

Genre: Horror.

Director: Lola Blanc

"Sami is controversial. It's how she makes her living, it's her bread and butter--and her exploding internet fanbase is eating it up. So when she discovers that a recent mass shooting was inspired by her rhetoric, she ignores it. After all, crazy people have nothing to do with her. Right? That's what she tells herself, even as the physical manifestation of her conscience grows harder and harder to ignore, forcing her to decide whether to get rid of it altogether."


Lola Blanc’s biting political satire, Pruning is making waves at the 2023 Palm Springs ShortFest. The film follows an up-and-coming far-right talking head, Sami Geller (Madeline Brewer), trying to climb her way up a crowded ladder of powerful demagogues. Brewer does an excellent job of showcasing the internal struggle of a character vying for the approval and attention of a specific political audience, while struggling with her humanity, conscience and her direct influence on the relentless horrors of everyday society. She oscillates between her remorseless on-camera persona and her more compassionate side in her private life flawlessly.


Pruning is visually slick, with effective lighting and composition throughout.  Its scenery teeters between a calm, clean and crisp modern living space and a dark, nightmarish landscape that haunts Sami’s dreams and slowly blurs the lines of her reality.  She is forced to face her morality and the consequences of her words head on, but this internal struggle quickly evolves from horrific metaphor to terrifying reality for Sami.


Pruning illustrates the sacrifice people often make to succeed in a harsh, unforgiving world and how they often rebel against their better judgments in exchange for fame and fortune. Pruning is a concise, well crafted character piece featuring a fruitful collaboration among a small cast and crew that’s message will resonate in the viewer’s mind far longer than its 15 minute runtime. 

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