Rain Rain Go Away

Rain, Rain, Go Away (2023)

Rain, Rain, Go Away had its world première on Sat 26th Aug at FrightFest

Rain, Rain, Go Away opens with a penetrative act:  black ink being injected into flesh in close-up. “First time?”, the tattoo artist (Gaz Hayden) asks Clari (Carolina Lopes), as she visibly winces through the pain. “Bit of a late bloomer, then?” 

The word ‘bloomer’ resonates here. It is a sunflower that Clari is getting painfully tattooed on her wrist, to commemorate her recently deceased grandfather (Mike Sweeney-Collier) who used to buy flowers, as she recollects, “whenever it rained”. There is also a red flower design on the tattoo parlour’s wall, and as the artist pops out for a second and the lights flicker, Clari is distracted, imagining that she can still hear her grandfather singing the nursery rhyme of the title, as though the dead man were still living in her mind. 

Later that night, back in her flat, Clari will receive – or imagine that she receives – a phone call from her long-estranged childhood friend Poppy (voiced by Isabella Colby Browne), herself named for a flower, who says that she is looking for closure. And so on this long, dark and stormy night of the soul, confused Clari will reexamine her feelings about Grandpa, in a nightmarish kaleidoscope of experiences buried and blooms cut.

A tattoo is a souvenir. Unlike the rain, or a blossom, or other ephemera, it does not readily fade away – but, more like a scar or other trauma, it permanently marks a mood or a memory. Scripted by Thalia Kent-Egan, Sebastiano Pupino’s woozy, impressionistic short film Rain, Rain, Go Away observes a young woman who is simultaneously in denial of, and in confrontation with, her prematurely lost innocence, and trying, one way or another, to heal the wound. It is an abstract presentation of something raw and agonising that just will not simply go away. Here, in the absence of real closure, radical erasure is all that remains, as the horrors of the past, no longer able to be viewed through rose-coloured glasses, must be nipped in the bud.

strap: Sebastiano Pupino’s traumatic short sees a young woman commemorating all that her late grandfather meant to her

© Anton Bitel