Sweet Hand of the White Rose, The (2010)

3.5 out of 5

In what is basically a seventeen minute Public Service Announcement warning about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving, director Davide Melini ekes out some genuinely touching moments. The tripartite structure is a little clumsy, and the opening club scene is superfluous, except for a lovely, almost upskirt, camera angle under a table, which smoothly tracks up the actress' legs as she approaches.

There are hints of Ching Siu-Tung's A Chinese Ghost Story in the central graveyard scenes, but Melini's tendency for cliché means that there are a few too many portentous full moon cutaways. The use of rock music should destroy any potential gothic atmosphere, but unlike in his previous short, The Puzzle, here it somehow seem appropriate.

Carlos Bahos' performance is a little stiff, but the startlingly pretty Natasha Machuca, as the White Rose, is effective in a role that could easily have been Sadako-lite, but ends up as surprisingly gentle. The ending is a cross between The Sixth Sense and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and is all the better for it.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics