Burning the Bed

"Burning the Bed" is an Irish short film directed by Denis McArdle with the screenplay written by Patrick Chapman. It featured Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen as the two main characters, Caroline and Stephen. The film focuses on the bed that Caroline and Stephen shared together. They are first shown to be in a house by the sea, preparing to move. While Caroline wraps household items to be packed in boxes, Stephen begins taking apart the wooden bed frame. The frame is made of thick and heavy wood so Stephen resorts to using a saw to cut it into smaller pieces. They arrange the broken bed frame into a pile on the beach with the intention of burning it come nightfall. At one point, Caroline sees a happy couple flying a kite together on the beach and is reminded of a similar activity with Stephen in the past when they had been happier together. The couple's interactions throughout the day revolve around their actions towards the bed frame. Although both Stephen and Caroline make attempts at conversation with each other, their upcoming separation puts a damper on the mood. By nightfall they have ceased speaking altogether and the characters' feelings are conveyed only through their body language and facial expressions. As the bed burns, they sit outside on the sand and watch it together. In the morning, only one piece of the wood bed frame is still intact, the rest having burned to ashes during the night. Caroline and Stephen had fallen asleep by the bonfire; when Caroline awakens to see the remains of the fire, she departs without comment. The film ends with Caroline shown walking away along the shoreline, her actions emphasized by the ambiguous ending. McArdle won two awards for this short film: Artistic Director's Citation from the Ojai Film Festival and Best Short from the Dead Center Film Festival in 2004.

2003 | 13 min | 6.6/10
Burning the Bed