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Ortolan (Short Film Review)

2 min read

There's nothing more chilling than a family of estranged sisters coming together on the night of their mother's funeral. Throw in a pot of magic mushroom tea and you get .

Ortolan is a tense, atmospheric psychological thriller directed by as we follow sisters Jean, Ann and Dorothy as they're haunted by buried trauma and memories. Their mother left her entire estate to just one of the daughters who admits she's happy to split it all three ways as long as the three of them spend the weekend together in their old home that's haunted by the memories of their past and that they get high together on the magic mushroom tea.

Right from the start, Ortolan is filled with eeriness as it sets up its unsettling atmosphere. As the night progresses and the tea starts to kick in a little more, Ortolan starts dialling up its absurdity and peculiarity but in doing so it starts to find its feet and come into its own a little more.

Once the psychedelics kick in, Ortolan may start to get a little too strange and outlandish for some viewers but it's here were Mathewson shows her flair as a director. Ortolan becomes an impressive display of atmosphere and tension.

Ortolan is written and produced by after her own experiences with buried memory and this 24-minute is a proof of concept for a feature film of the same name that's to be executively produced by and Academy Award-nominated production company FlipNarrative and will star Waleed Zuaiter.

As the memories and legacy left behind by their parents come to the forefront, the three sisters relationship is brought into question and the performances from the three leads help draw you into the world of the film even further.

Ortolan is an accomplished film with an unnerving and spooky mood, but maybe don't make yourself a cup of tea just as you're about to watch it.

Ortolan has been selected for London Independent Film Festival 2023.