In a Cane Field

By Emily Avila | Drama
A 15-year-old girl is found dead in a cane field. And her murder is a mystery that envelops the community.

The body of a murdered 15-year-old girl is found in a sugar cane field. The disquieting crime disrupts the nearby beachside tourist town, as the mystery envelops the entire community and those closest to her grapple with grief and senseless death.

Writer-director Emily Avila’s short drama is a meditative murder mystery that is less about a “whodunit” and more about what happens when faced with unexpected violence and destruction of life.

Based on the short story “The Serrambi Case” by Brazilian writer Frances de Pontes Peebles, the short conjures an atmosphere of loss, melancholy and disquiet, most notably through its sheer visual beauty.

The film’s images are haunting and painterly, carefully constructing a place that seems lovely and idyllic on the surface, but whose sumptuous textures and colors possibly mask something darker and disturbing underneath. Even paradise isn’t safe from the darker impulses of humankind, and judging from the corpse of the girl, those impulses are quite dark indeed.

As the investigation proceeds, the story traces the possible last traces of Maya, the girl in question, fleshing out just what may have happened to her on the night of her murder. Deft editing builds together the clues that illuminate just what happens, but the answer isn’t the point. For “In a Cane Field,” it’s about the way that a senseless loss can ripple through the most placid of surfaces, echoing long after the initial disturbance has been made.

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