Young People, Old People & Nothing In Between is an affecting short that makes for a large impact: Slamdance Film Festival Review

An emotional expedition outlaying the effects of dementia on both the mind its crippling and the hearts of those baring witness, Parida Tantiwasadakran‘s Young People, Old People & Nothing In Between is an affecting short that makes for a large impact.

At the centre of the film is young Juice (Deedee Piamwiriyaku), 7-years-old and full of enthusiasm, wisdom, and evident love for her grandmother, Grandma Lovely (Suwinya Kungsadan).  We first meet them when Juice is self-filming a conversation between the two, asking Lovely to tell the viewers who she is and specific details of her life.  It’s effortlessly sweet and speaks to the organic nature of Tantiwasadakran’s script, as it presents a specific relationship between the two.

Given the film’s short running time it doesn’t take long for Grandma Lovely’s dementia to seep through, but even still, Tantiwasadakran exercises a restraint in making it a melodramatic shift.  She goes for walks in the neighbourhood, despite Juice telling her that certain roads are off-limits.  She brings Juice her “favourite drink” upon school pick-up, but forgets the correct order.  We see subtle, gradual signs, ultimately culminating in a conversation where Juice realises the Lovely she knew is starting to disappear; though, as she so beautifully states in a closing voice-over, reflecting as an adult, “I may have lost her, but she never lost me.”

If ever there was a film that earned a feature-length expansion, Young People, Old People & Nothing In Between is it.  By no means are we short-changed in its limited format, but the connection created between Juice and Lovely begs for an in-depth excursion, as does Lovely’s life journey and the expected battles Juice will face as she loses contact with a woman she’s so evidently tethered to as a youth.  It’s a beautiful, poetic film, and despite the Thai-American heritage it laces its narrative with (Tantiwasadakran is of such legacy), it’s universal in its depiction of generational linkage.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Young People, Old People & Nothing In Between is screening as part of this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, running physically between January 19th and 25th, 2024, and virtually on the Slamdance Channel between January 22nd and 28th.  For more information head to the official Slamdance Film Festival page.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.