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The Ball

It's a clear, cold evening, and one young woman called Pearlie (Avril Dominguez) is looking forward to the most magical night of her life. Tonight is the annual winter ball, you see, a long-standing tradition in the town, and she has high hopes of being the belle of the titular ball. As she finishes getting ready she talks eagerly to her mirror, wishing for her beau to arrive soon and whisk her away.

But she soon realizes that there is another presence in her room, and it isn't a happy one. There's an evil spirit with a grudge who wants to make sure that Pearlie doesn't have any fun tonight, since misery loves company. Pearlie, however, is equally determined to fulfill all her daydreams and dance with her true love, and she has a few secret weapons to help make sure that happens.

This short film is fundamentally a duel between the two characters, with a dash of Shakespearean tragedy and even comedy thrown in. The dialogue is in fact all in the bard's favorite iambic pentameter or close to it -- hey, even he didn't always follow that pattern exactly -- and yes, it rhymes as well, though it's never difficult to understand.

The setting is old-fashioned, but there's certainly a timeless aspect to the overall plot. The style of dancing may have changed a lot, but the allure (and the endless possibilities) of going out to a dance has been around for centuries, and the spirit's grudge is entirely understandable in any era. Dominguez carries the show capably, deftly creating a character that's far more than she seems. Many of the supernatural aspects go just a little over the top, adding a slightly wild layer of humor and creating a wonderfully entertaining blend of genres, offering a sly reminder that there can be a fine line between determined and crazy.

Pearlie communes with her mirror.


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