In Avalanche, Homa (Fatema Motamed-Aria) accepts a long run of night shifts just as snow starts to fall. Homa is an experienced nurse but the hours take their toll and she quickly grows tired, losing sight of a recurring dream which gave her comfort. Noises become more intrusive, an integral part of the soundscape, they cut into Homa’s every thought; telephones, radios, parties, dogs barking, plates crashing and the incessant piano from the flat upstairs.  As the blizzards white-out the world around her, Homa starts to contemplate her life. Events and people irritate her, emotions long buried start to resurface. The woman she is caring for is difficult yet Homa is drawn to her as insomnia and isolation push Homa to breaking point.

Avalanche is full of the most beautiful images. The snowy scenes are surreal and dream-like, seen through the wet glass of the hospital room. Homa’s clothing echoes the blue-grey palette and sweeping shapes of the landscape. Individuals are removed from her, hidden behind doors, separated by window frames and pillars. Homa and her husband stand in the snow like ghosts.

Motamed-Aria brings huge weight and restraint to the role of Homa but sometimes it all feels a little too ponderous and evenly paced. There are a few unanswered questions but by the end they don’t seem important. No one moves very fast until the metaphorical avalanche when Homa makes a decision, just before the snow stops and the shadow lifts.

Caroline Grebbell

Sat 25 June, 1.20pm, Odeon 4

Sun 26 June, 6.05pm, Odeon 2

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