The Letter Carrier
June 29, 2018 6:41 PM   Subscribe

This film is earth-shattering. A festival I worked at played it last year, and I said that if it didn't win best short film, I'd punch someone from the jury. Well, someone from the jury got punched. Lightly.
posted by goatdog at 7:42 PM on June 29, 2018

I feel like I'm missing some context. It was beautifully shot, yes, with great acting and singing, but it didn't "shatter my earth". I appreciate that there's something there, but I can't seem to figure it out. I'll try it again tomorrow when I'm more alert.
posted by Mogur at 8:43 PM on June 29, 2018

This is absolutely gorgeous and haunting. Thanks.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:11 PM on June 29, 2018


i have been waiting for this

Mogur: I heard from interviews that this was based on a ghost story that Jesse L. Martin's aunt told him and his cousins as a child, about a ghostly figure called "The Letter Carrier" who would steal children and sell them into slavery. I think the premise is that this family has been hiding in the woods during 1860 to escape slavery, and the mother has told her children about "The Letter Carrier" to scare them into obedience as a way to protect them.

The impression I got from the film was: all along, the mother was secretly in love with the real man who was "the letter carrier" and was sneaking off to be with him, but one time the son followed and mistook him for the boogeyman she'd been warning the children about and shot him. And that's why they were burying him at the end. But I'm not certain.

A couple years back the producers were funding the film on Kickstarter, and got an unexpected and generous gift from Joss Whedon - and they thanked him in a unique way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't have anything profound to say; the video struck me as profound though, as in, there's something being revealed beyond the narrative that feels just out of my reach, something in the sister returning with the rifle after hunting as opposed to the son), mama and the ring she slips on, and the son taking on the letter carrier's hat. It's beautifully presented and the music mix between play and dirge is stunning. I don't know, except that I really, really love it.
posted by allandsome at 5:47 AM on June 30, 2018

Ah, that helps a lot. Thank you! Yes, it's a beautiful story.
posted by Mogur at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2018

Hmm. I just watched it a second time and I think I was really wrong about my previous assessment - it's more likely that the "letter carrier" figure was perhaps a slave trader, or the foreman at a plantation or something like that - when I first watched I thought that the flashback with the little boy showed him spying on his mother and the stranger having sex, but watching it again with better lighting it looks more like the flashback shows the boy watching something more violent.

So now I don't know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:42 AM on June 30, 2018

My take on it was that the letter carrier is the boy's father. He knows the man as his father, but not that his father is the letter carrier. But that's what I love about it--I don't know if I'm right. The jury at my festival didn't like that it wasn't spelled out, but I love the uncertainty.
posted by goatdog at 4:30 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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