Analysis of Short Film- The
BY ANUKA BARUA
The Desk is a short romantic-mystery film directed by Albert Gonzalez.
It follows the story of a young teenage boy, Peter, who has joined a new
high school. The story explores the rough patches that travels with him
throughout the first couple of weeks until he confides his feelings by
writing messages on his desk, to a mystery girl name Julie, whom he
has never met. However although having not met her he continues
writing to her until he decides to ask her what class she is in so they can
arrange to meet up. As he gets up to leave a message magically fades in
on the desk from Julia claiming that she is in the same class as him.
Peter is shocked and falls of his chair scared. Despite this he still
messages her, finding joy in their conversations. Towards the the end of
the film, a new girl called Julie joins his class. She smiles at Peter and
sits behind him. She then passes him a note asking him whether they
have met before and they both smile at each other. The question
remains whether Julie is a ghost or actually real.
The short film takes place in a high school. We know
this from the start of the film, where an establishing
shot is used to set the story and give the audience an
idea of what to expect in a place like this. Furthermore
the younger audience can also identify with the film
and characters in it.
The film is also shot in the corridors and the classroom
„111‟ where he writes his messages to Julie from. The
corridor scenes highlights Peters isolation from the
other students in his year. It also conveys his
unhappiness as he is bullied there everyday day.
The classroom is a the main central location as it is
where the desk that the protagonists writes his
messages to Julie sits on. Isolation in the film is
reinforced further as Peters desk is far away from all
the other desks. This may be a good thing for him as
he may want privacy from other students in the class.
In this scene, the director uses a
series of eyeline match to show
what Peter is looking at. . The
juxtaposition of these shots
further reinforces Peters nervous
feelings as he is lost and making
sure that he knows his way round.
The mid shot of Peter walking down the corridor slowly implies to
the audience that it has already been a long day for Peter despite
school has only just begun. In the shot we can also see a group of
students running past him, cheering and joking around with their
friends. This highlights Peters isolation from the other people, thus
making the audience sympathise with him. The most used shot type
is a close up, mostly to emphasise the writing on the desk, but also
to display Peter‟s emotions as he changes from sad to happy.
Although the directors shots are too simple, this may have been an
intentional as he may have tried to put emphasis on Peter‟s boring
life until he finds Julie. The director also uses POV shots to display
Peters frustration at school and even at home. This shot is creative
as it allows the audience to see the view of the world from his
In one of the scenes, a slow motion is used to show a girl enter the
classroom, this draws the attention to her and shows that she interests the
main protagonist. In addition, the effect allows he audience to identify that
she is the popular girl that we see in every high school thus following the
conventions of a teenage drama.
The desk consists mainly of cut-away shots and
match on action. This shows the continuance of
Peters journey so far in the school and the
progress of his “relationship” with Julie. The
director also uses ellipsis to show the passing of
time Peters interest in Julie grows each day.
The editing is also a lot more fast paced than
before, empathising the joy he feels when
writing to her. Fade out is used to show Julies
response n the desk. This creates enigma as the
Audience wander how it got there and putting into question whether Julie is really a ghost or an actual
Throughout the short film, the director uses a music score. This piece is
relatively minor and the tempo is slow, at first signifying Peter‟s
negative and nervous attitude on starting a new school without
knowing anyone. The music becomes louder and more major when
Peter is enjoying talking to Julie. This shows the importance of her
character as she makes him and the audience happy, thus restoring
equilibrium again. At one point the sound stops completely for a second
upon his confusion of when her words come through the desk
immediately after his has written on the desk. Apart from the music
score, there is ambient sound of students and bells on Peters first day of
school. This sound is significant to his character as the natural of all
sounds over powers his own voice and confidence thus dividing himself
from the rest of the people.
The lighting in the film is combination of both artificial and natural. The
director may haven chosen to add additional lighting on Peters face as
overhead lighting may have made his face darker. Natural lighting was used in
the beginning of the film when establishing the shot of the school, and briefly
when Peter wakes up from bed and the sun shines through his window.
The director used dim lighting mainly in the beginning of the film, when the
protagonist was finding it difficult to fit in, therefore conveying to the audience
about his loneliness ad isolation. The lighting soon became brighter as he and
Julie‟s conversations progressed, showing us the joy he feels when he is writing
Props and Costume
The main prop in the film is the desk on which he
communicates with Julie from. The significance of the desk is
that it conveys to the audience how it is the only tool which
Peter can use to communicate with Julie and without it, he
would have never known of her.
The only costume that changes is Peters. At the start of the
film, his clothing was simple and the colours were drab but
soon after confiding with Julie, his fashion and dress sense
changed and became more colourful and stylish, as a result
asserting his delight in the conversations he have with Julie.
The Popular girl in the beginning was wearing a bright cyan
tank top, revealing flesh therefore following the conventions
of a stereotypical cheerleader girl. The bully was wearing a
leather jacket, pointing out his dominance and threatening
The genre is romantic sub-plot. The director has
used codes & conventions, particularly ones that you
would normally expect in chick-flicks except the
protagonist is a male. There is a stereotypical
cheerleader girl, who is popular with the school
jocks. There is also a bully who we see torments the
protagonist in the corridors.
The main protagonist in this short film is Peter. A 17 year old boy who
wakes up in the morning with great difficulty, dreading to go to school.
He is quiet boy and often picked on and teased at the start of the film.
However, once he begins to talk to Julie his character becomes more
lively and content.
Julie is the other min character. She is only physically seen at the end of
the film, however we do not know that it is really her. Julie consistently
replies to Peters messages, keeping him happy.
The popular girl in the beginning does not have a major role in the film
however she is the character which Peter initially had a crush on, before
he discovered Julie. She is the reason why Peter initially started writing
a message on the desk, hoping that he would get a reply from her.