Every so often, you watch a film that is so affecting, it climbs inside your skull and takes up residence there long after the end credits roll.
The haunting short DAWN, is just such a film.
Set in a technicolor coated, early 1960s-era suburbia, the short introduces the titular Dawn (Tara Lynne Barr), a sheltered young woman who desperately wants to experience life beyond her white picket world.
Fatefully, Dawn has a encounter that tempts her with excitement, possible romance, and adventure.
However, the naive Dawn doesn't realize not all that glitters is gold, and ravenous wolves often are disguised as sheep.
Part of what makes DAWN so indelible is its scathing indictment of how women are often socialized to sublimate their desires and self-determination in order to please men.
The film unflinchingly illustrates just how dangerous traditionally prescribed gender roles can be.
In the short, Dawn is torn between wanting to indulge her natural exuberance, and her longing to be the perfect "lady" her parents - and society - expect.
A woman who doesn't "ask too many questions or talk too much," and above all, warps her personality to appear more attractive to men.
In Dawn's case, her repression, her eagerness to please drowns out her intuition and sense of self-preservation - which ultimately leaves her dangerously vulnerable.
The film's ending hit me like a hammer to the gut.
It is shocking, and yet seems a disturbingly apropos conclusion to this brilliant, brutal, unrelenting cautionary tale that also is a vivid reminder the most horrible of monsters are human.
Watch DAWN in its entirety here ...
I strongly encourage women, men, and those who are the parents of young girls to watch this relevant, important, and unforgettable short film.
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