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Synopsis: When an insecure husband returns home one night and finds that his child has replaced him as the center of his wife’s world, he enacts revenge.

Language

English

Run Time

9 minutes

Starring

Adam Keller (Dad)
Mila Milosevic (Mother)

Directed by

Matthew Marin

Written by

Matthew Marin

Produced by

C.C. Lewis

Edited by

Amy Chih-Hsin Lee

Composer

Shifting Harbor

Production Designer

Patrick Carnes

Cinematographer

Josh Steinbauer

Director's Statement

According to the Scripture, Jesus Christ died on the cross between 3pm-4pm. In Western Christian tradition, the hour between 3am-4am is considered a mockery of the Holy Trinity and a period of peak supernatural activity. At this time, a doorway opens between this dimension and the spirit world, empowering witchcraft and demonic possessions.

3:33 A.M. tells another story of evil occurring during what’s considered the witching or demon’s hour. I was drawn to the symbolism of the Holy Trinity and a hypothetical scenario: what if the Father betrayed the Son and the Holy “Spirit” (the Hebrew word for feminine)? I wanted to explore the temptations of a patriarchal figure struggling to accept a mother’s rite of passage. The script evolved into an allegory of a man’s false belief that his wife must serve him, reacting with deception, aggression and violence when challenged.

An important storytelling element for the film was omitting dialogue between the father and the mother. When young couples welcome a baby into their relationship, the mother develops an intuitive bond with her child over time and redefines herself physically, mentally and emotionally. While fathers develop a special bond with their children, they also need to support their partner’s sacrifice. In this short story, the dynamic of their relationship changes when his suppressed sexual urges clash with her motherly instincts. He fails to set aside his selfish desires, as she withdraws from their disillusioned marriage.

While the witching hour conjures supernatural elements, this time is also when the brain enters REM sleep and dreams become more vivid and bizarre. The short film’s neon-noir aesthetic presents a dreamlike feel. As the narrative takes a darker turn, the colors become saturated to create a fantastical look. This mysterious, unsettling feeling is further amplified by the haunting drone music.

In this nightmare scenario, the actors developed an emotional connection to their characters. Adam Keller’s body language and facial expressions capture the husband’s fatal flaws. Mila Milosevic’s subtle performance expresses the wife’s disenchantment. A casting consideration was the ethnicity of the actors. Adam’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestant character represents elitism while Mila’s European background adds mystery to her character’s hidden side.

Two shadow selves collide in this character-driven experimental short film, leading to a climax that allows the audience to draw their own interpretations. 3:33 A.M. is a cautionary tale about the consequences of toxic masculinity on the family dynamic when men avoid confronting their inner demons.

Director's Bio

Matt Marin’s filmmaking and storytelling focuses on crafting narratives centered on bringing the darker side of the human experience to light. He studies the Enneagram system of personality types and applies their hidden shadow selves to his characters. As an Enneagram Type 9 known as the Peacemaker, he is particularly interested in narrative themes of anger and vengeance. A former journalist and current publicist based in New York City, he offers audiences a perspective into emotions and behaviors that are difficult to accept while raising awareness on socio-political issues.

Production Year

2022

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