It’s all in how you say it . . .

If you read a lot, and especially if you’re a writer, you will have heard about flash fiction that is so popular now. It’s a story with the traditional beginning, middle, and a suitable ending in anywhere between 500 to 800 words, the number varying somewhat. The idea is to trim every extraneous word away until you absolutely cannot remove another word without ruining the story. I once spent a week’s worth of classes at a writer’s colony working on just this concept. It’s a very difficult, but satisfying, practice in writing if you’re lucky enough to get the hang of it.

Yesterday I received two emails from a couple of my old friends from when I lived in Las Vegas. Both contained a link to this video via another distributor. It’s the winner of the Fourth Annual Short Film Online Competition from the Cannes Film Festival of 2008, Historia de un Letroro (The History of a Sign). The winner’s name is Alonso Alvarez Barreda. The music is outstanding, the story sincere and . . . maybe you’d better have a hanky or a box of Kleenex handy. It’s not sad, it’s uplifting in the ways that make people tear up or cry a little, or at least their throat burns a bit. Also–and this doesn’t hurt either the film either–the hero is very good looking. I’m sure, Eiko and Ginger, that you didn’t even notice! But thanks to you both!

Since my WordPress hosted account limits my options for formatting videos, I had to search it out and link it to youtube rather than the version I first viewed. The quality is a not quite what I wish, but I think it’s satisfactory enough, and the story heartwarming enough, that you will enjoy it very much. The film’s running time is 4 minutes 50 seconds, but it runs almost 6 minutes if you watch full credits at the end. By the way, it’s in Spanish with English subtitles for the very limited “dialogue.” And just like great flash fiction, when a short film says it right, it’s wonderful.

Author’s note: This video IS still available, although I’ve noticed that it sometimes takes a few moments to upload. It’s worth the wait.

With a stroke of the pen, a stranger transforms the afternoon for another, less fortunate man, reminding us that sometimes the gift of time is far more valuable than mere money.