The Withering

A Short Film (About A Long Life)

Status: In Development (NFVF)

An ELDERLY WOMAN with no legs and only one arm goes about her daily struggle with her nurse as she eagerly awaits a visit from her daughter.


DAVID and LERATO meet at university. He’s charming but she’s sees right through him. She gives in to her curiosity and they spend the day together. She is torn between the great time she is having getting to know David and the fact that she is meant to visit her mother.


As the nurse bathes the elderly woman we see that she has had a mastectomy leaving only scars on her chest and what looks like multiple skin grafts all over her body. They laugh and discuss the nurse’s virginity and lack of a love life as she bathes her war torn body.


Lerato and David’s connection is growing as they seem to quickly connect deeply with each other. She continues to put off her mother’s visit as they discuss their lives, religion and politics as if they’ve known each other forever.  


As the day wanes the elderly woman’s hope to see her daughter wanes too. She turns off her night light and goes to sleep in tears.


Despite Lerato’s guilt for ditching her mother, David and her end up back at her res. Their deep meaningful conversation leads to making love and spending the night together.


The next day the elderly woman and nurse are playing a game of cards when a knock is heard on the door. The nurse goes to answer and comes back smiling, it’s the elderly lady’s daughter. But as she turns the corner it’s another young lady, not Lerato. They embrace and the elderly lady is the picture of happiness.


A montage starts; Lerato gives David a pregnancy test, their wedding day, anniversaries, the birth of their daughter, more anniversaries and birthdays. As this montage unravels their life together, we see that as time passes Lerato loses body parts, usually followed by some sort of meal situation, anniversary dinners, birthday lunches, breastfeeding, etc. Insinuating that in giving of herself to her husband and family she is literally feeding them herself. David dies leaving Lerato old, alone and physically depleted in a very literal sense.


The elderly lady, who we’ve come to understand is Lerato, attempts to engage her daughter who seems more interested in her phone. She asks her about her husband and kids. Lerato notices that her daughter is wearing a prosthetic leg and a sadness comes over her, as she realizes her daughter is destined for the same fate as her.

©2020 Mulatto Films

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