A short at the Savannah Film Festival, Girls Named Pinky has stayed with me. Not so much the actual film, but the Q&A session with the director afterward. Before I go there, here’s how the notes I’d scribbled in the dark read (a drip-feed of information):
Irish bar. Hermit asks for another dark one.
Ominous music, everyone checks out woman, hear the sound of her skirt.
* Scenes in bars invite us into the world of possibility—of a stranger walking into your life—of the illicit—no one will know. THIS, this moment, this afternoon, this can become a part of who I am, what I know about me, for me alone. A secret me that no one who knows me has to know.
A dance with a stranger
Rock so softly with you
Well, aren’t you just full of surprises?
A disco ball.
We’re warned, when a bartender tells a handsome customer that the woman at the bar is with a different guy every night, not to mention that she has a husband. A hermit at the end of the bar drinks another dark one.
Woman returns to bar from bathroom, smoothing her skirt. It’s the first time we see her. We hear ominous music, the fabric as it rubs against her thighs. Watch out.
Handsome customer makes his move, gets too aggressive, and our hermit saves the day, taking a right hook, landing on his back, but still driving handsome customer off.
Hermit offers to buy her a drink. She tells him she’s the one who should be thanking him. They agree to a quick one, even though, he admits, he shouldn’t be drinking either… he’s diabetic. You know this is as close as he’s gotten to a woman this striking. She tells him over a quick game of darts that tonight’s a special occasion: she’s leaving her husband Danny. She shares with our hermit that she heard her husband whispering on the phone. “Pinky” she whispers. He looks confused. “That’s her name. She’s probably from Texas.” Audience laughs.
She drinks some more. He offers to drive her. Wait, in the parking lot she swears she sees his car. Oh, God. Danny ain’t out of town. Oh, shit. Now what… ahh, car, wrong car. Whew.
Because she’s still afraid Danny is in town, hermit offers to help her sober up at his motel room. Ha ha.
Diabetic. Again. Should have taken insulin two hours ago. Makes me think something bad will happen to HIM.
She gets naked. Sex is shown in silhouettes against a wall. Moaning.
You’re kind. Hope I get home now before he does.
Morris. Mr. DeBruno. Yeah, it’s done.
We then see that hermit guy’s tattoo says PINKIE.
Kills her. Falls asleep on her.
Dead in hotel.
Gives money to handsome customer from earlier on his way out… handsome guy goes up the motel steps with cleaning supplies.
What I loved most was this, a question that sat with me long after the Q&A session: What makes an effective twist—and, more specifically, what elements make up the art of misdirection? Topics like this fascinate me and make me want to fill out a school application. I LOVE learning techniques like these. The director didn’t get into any of this, only commented on how he kept tuning and tweaking the film with this in mind. Here’s what stands out to me when I examine my notes above:
1. Make the victim seem like the bad guy. She’s danger. Ominous music. Other characters warning others (and us the audience) to watch out.
2. And this is why I wish there were a class, or maybe why I need to watch more movies, looking for this misdirection… when they throw in the random person, and you think, aha, must be him… to mix things up. In the above, it was the missing husband. Would he show up? Would he catch them? Is he following her up to his motel room? See how the questions come? That’s built, that’s technique. That’s what I wish someone could just hand over to me and say, HERE. I’ve got instinct, but I adore techniques.