Passion Gap by Matt Portman and Jason Donald

A young woman who grew up in violence plans to use her boyfriend to escape. She just has to survive one more night.

Set in Cape Town, South Africa, a young woman named Elani wants to escape her life and her past.

With a history of violence in her past, she attaches herself to an egotistical drug dealer named Mikey in her desperate attempt to escape her hometown.

Mikey and his best friend are on the verge of their biggest score, which will give them enough money to get out of Cape Town for good. All Elani has to do is keep her relationship going for one more night — but how far will she go to keep their relationship from imploding?

Written and directed by filmmaking duo Matt Portman and Jason Donald, this dramatic short boasts stylish, urban-noir cinematography and sharp, observant camerawork.

But the vivid aesthetics feed a story that explores the relationship between violence against women and poverty. It takes pains to honestly and straightforwardly portray the world the characters live in, without making excuses or condescending to the audience.

The result is a powerful exploration of how violence works as a cycle — and how it affects the people who both perpetrate and are victim of it, blurring the lines in an unforgettable, riveting way.

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