In a very close future, abortion is entirely illegal in the United States but secret abortion centres still exist.
The movie follows the journey of two sisters, one who wishes to abort and wants the support of her sibling, and the other who only thinks they are going on a distant yoga retreat.
Written by Shara Ashley Zeiger (Faustess (Short)) and directed by Jessica Alexandra Green (The Light Watcher (Short), The Prime (Short)), The Red Lotus almost serves as a prevention spot to alert to the possibility of losing abortion rights.
While the movie starts off in what seems to be today’s world, it is only after the five-minute mark that the movie reveals that it is set in 2020, where Roe v Wade has been repealed and Planned Parenthood stopped existing.
This sudden reveal after the introduction of the characters helps to make this hypothetical future feel more real and most of all not that hypothetical. The dialogues surrounding the abortion (whether the debate between the sisters that revolves more around the fact that this is now an illegal act that could have judicial consequences rather than around ethical or moral dilemmas), the short talk from the doctor about the procedure, or the discussion between the two sisters after) is quite well-done and never feels cliché; on the contrary, it rings true and could potentially resonate with many people.
The fact that the movie is dedicated to the women who have had illegal abortions and who helped create the movie by telling their experience isn’t surprising in that sense.
However, while the actors all do a good job, the rest of the movie is either too conventional or a bit over the top. The directing and photography is just fine and the music, composed by Leeran Z. Raphaely, is sometimes a bit excessive or even slightly off tonally: this reinforces the impression that this short movie is more a prevention spot than a work with great artistic value.
This is disappointing but The Red Lotus still is interesting and an effective reminder of today’s political climate and what could be tomorrow’s.