Multi-Award Winning Short Film
Based on a true story, RAG DOLL is an edgy, thought-provoking drama about a woman married to a gay man.
RAG DOLL was the first official project of Mission Ranch Films. It was completed in April, 2015, and went on to become an Official Selection at seven festivals, winning Audience Choice for Best Short Film, and the Best International Short Film Director Award at the Louisiana International Film Festival in May, 2015.
Because of the controversial nature of this film, Zena Dell Lowe published this DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT at all film festival screenings. She also gave a lecture, IN DEFENSE OF RAG DOLL, which can be viewed below.
In Defense Of RAG DOLL
Meet the Crew
Zena Dell Lowe
Meet the Cast
Zena Dell Lowe
Rag Doll Reviews
This short film is brilliant. From the first scenes where the woman tells her mother what great friends she and her husband are, to his lack of natural desire for her and her suffering from his utter disinterest, which they attempt to deal with through staging encounters that do not work: the sadness of an emotionally void, sexless and childless marriage. It’s so painful to watch her excuse and make apologies for all that is missing even as he goes for anonymous furtive sex in the bushes rather than enjoying what she tries so hard to give. She holds up garment after garment in the mirror, wondering why she is not desirable to him. Would this dress or that change anything? One wonders how long she will rationalize her situation before she sees it as it is and goes through the heartbreak of walking away from the marriage. One wonders how long she will convince herself before she finds the truth more liberating than the lie. Rag Doll is uncomfortably relatable.
Rag Doll is brilliant because in her struggle not to admit the utter hopelessness of her situation, we see everything that has pinned her to a corkboard like a beautiful butterfly. She has been captured by her own false beliefs as well as by his very convincing lies. He does not want her to be a living woman, but a symbol for him to hide behind. Yes, it is brilliant. It reveals without editorializing or preaching the universal struggle of self-deception and denial. While I’m guessing that most us cannot relate to this particular situation, far too many of us can relate to the sad practice of being a willing participant in our own destruction.
Wow. Just wow. The sense of isolation and loneliness that these two feel simply rolls off the screen. One realizes he will go on pretending as long as she will let him. The viewer sees her clinging to hope in a desolate situation and feels with her how difficult it is to face reality.
Rag Doll demonstrated so powerfully the whole tragedy of a marriage in a remarkably short time. It is truly wonderful writing, the kind that shows instead of tells: Simple brushstrokes revealing such profound sorrow.
I only just now realized there is no dialogue, only her voice over, which offers strictly an ironic counterpoint. Everything she says to us contradicts what we are seeing on screen. It’s as if in order to survive this situation, she can never truly let herself verbalize how unbearable it is. This is a study of her far more than the husband who uses her to hide his difficulty.
How with so few scenes this whole marriage can be laid bare is amazing. One sees a situation two people got themselves into because they wanted reality to be what they hoped instead of accepting what was. How much human sorrow comes from this? Fear of not being loved or accepted for who we really are keeps many of us in similar hopeless situations.
This is the kind of film that could bring about intense discussions about marriage. Is it lack of honesty that traps people together, or is it our own fears, insecurities, and false beliefs? In Rag Doll, we are left with an overwhelming sadness, in part because we can relate to everything the woman says. Where on earth should she go from here?