Michelle Arthur’s short film Fate’s Shadow transplants the story of Carmen into a narrative about a woman in an abusive relationship being awakened to past lives. Eva (Arthur) is in a complicated relationship with Zach, an unseen, emotionally abusive boyfriend whom Eva’s friend Sara (Kathleen Randazzo) wants her to dump. But Eva claims that she’s been to a hypnotherapist who discovered that Eva and Zach were lovers in a past life, before he left her when his family threatened his inheritance. The juxtaposition of the narratives comes to the fore in the use of a dance performance, also depicting the Carmen story, that Eva and Sara attend.
Fate’s Shadow plays like the simplification of a feature length film, which is exactly what it is—the full-length version is currently in production. While low budget, it nonetheless raises some interesting questions about abusive relationships and romanticization—Eva initially won’t dump Zach because she’s convinced that their fates are intertwined. There’s a bit of a limitation in a short film to fully explore this issue, and the possibilities it raises, but Fate Shadow isn’t a short story—it’s the synopsis of a longer one, one in which hopefully these themes will be fully explored.