“Goodbye Mondays”: Contemporary wittiness meets traditional filmmaking!
In its core Michael Salmon’s “Goodbye Mondays” is at the same time both nostalgically traditional and eccentrically modern genre film, which employs the specifics of short film as a format splendidly. While most of the tonally retrospective films of today lack of content, style and character, “Goodbye Mondays” has it all and much more in its short 13-minute runtime.
“Goodbye Mondays” is a suspense drama that progresses with a Hitchcockian tension and culminates in a witty twist. The film follows the first day of a hardworking but a little gullible newly-hired maid Lucy (Gillian Saker), employed in a upper class residence by a sexually active housewife (Eloise Juryeff). The femme fatale archetype – seductive, mysterious, self-confident and -centered – of the housewife works as a great opposite for the humble and down-to-earth servant, creating a motivating dynamic for the plot.
Trying to the best out her first day, Lucy tries to please her employer’s requests, but soon is driven to witness glimpses of the housewife’s private life. And so, with a few incoming phone calls – made with a black, old and allusively cinematic phone – Lucy is pulled into a love triangle, or so she and the viewer are guided to assume.
This fun and utterly traditional plot forms the backbone of the narrative, which relies on finely composed dialogue and strategically introduced information. Thus, the director and writer Micheal Salmon’s screenplay’s structure is beautifully organized to play with the viewer’s assumptions, while advancing the story eloquently. The structure then is in perfect harmony with the setting, built with minimalistically luxurious set design that feels timeless, mirroring the characters and the atmosphere. The milieu indeed tells a lot about the dynamics of the relations of the maid and the housewife, as well as about the economic and social status of both. It helps to contextualize the story, emphasize the tension, and establish the atmosphere for the dramatically progressive events to occur.
The events are followed by perfectly composed cinematography by Beatriz Sastre. The aesthetic framing and motivated movements suit the story beautifully, adding up to the cinematically traditional ambience of the film. The visuals of “Goodbye Mondays” in general, from classy location to stylish tone, are refined, as they work hand in hand with the storytelling. Both Gillian as the maid and Eloise as the housewife give strong performances with their detailed facial expressions and well paced dialogues.
Many aspects of the film provoke to draw parallels to film history, especially to the films of the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to numerous pieces by Alfred Hitchock, the motifs and style of “Goodbye Mondays” evoke recollections from Buñuel’s “Belle de Jour” to film noir classics, creating hunger for more contemporary takes on the genre. These creative provocations of such connotations make “Goodbye Mondays”, as a perfectly flawless film, special. Special in both style and ambitions. And indeed, the narratively and stylistically immersive “Goodbye Mondays” makes you forget Mondays and every other mundane day of the everyday.