RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY **** UK 2023 Dir: Sebastiano Pupino. 13 mins
The centuries-old nursery rhyme of the title gains a more disturbing meaning in Italian filmmaker Pupino’s slick, unnerving short – one of an eclectic series of films he has made since 2009’s REFRAIN. It’s written by Thalia Kent-Egan and showcases an impressive central performance by Lisbon-born actor Carolina Lopes.
We first see her apparently in the throes of grief while getting her first tattoo, following the death of her grandfather. Pupino strikes a note of unease from the get-go: a persistently flickering light in the oddly disquieting studio and the slightly imposing behaviour of the tattooist himself create a sense of tension early on. Lopes still sings “Rain, Rain, Go Away” in her sleep, a holdover from childhood. She also receives a call out of the blue from an old friend who has otherwise not been in touch.
It’s a taut, stylish, well-shot piece and, when the sinister resonance of that childhood tune becomes clear, ventures down a dark path: the old man’s death awakens a grim backstory of abuse, with Mike Sweeney-Collier suitably repellent as the abuser in question. Pupino employs the language and techniques of horror to tell a horribly everyday story of a long-suppressed chain of scarring events, while confirming how the death of the perpetrator by no means results in closure. Lopes impresses in an authentic, full-blooded characterisation.
Review by Steven West