Film Review: 93 Notout

93 Not Out is an inspirational film that feel as much like a short film as it does a documentary and vice versa. At 93 years old, our male lead is by no means out. As we learn he has lead a full life and is not about to stop just because he is a bit older than he used to be. He has one desire. To ride a bicycle again before he dies. Easier said than done.

a4This adorable film has a huge heart at its centre. Its minimal production only adds to its utter charm. It feels unpolished, like a documentary which works in its favour as it promotes the idea that this is a real, actual person. It helps the audience to bond with the character and invest in his story.

Despite being focused around an elderly man who is facing death, this film has an undoubtable light hearted feel. It almost skips across the screen to its own happy beat. The lead character is dynamic and one that is easily attached to. His determination and drive to live his life to the full are heart-warming and inspirational.

The whole film comes together with a pleasant and chirpy synergy. Everything works together like a well-oiled machine to promote a consistent and flowing narrative. The dialogue feels natural and well written, yet it is the imagery and the music that provides the atmosphere within this film. The upbeat tones of the cultural music promote a positive feel as if the film itself is smiling at itself.

The film is well edited, and with use of flashbacks which are used sparingly we get an idea of the main character’s past without too much exposition. We understand his motivations and why he wants to achieve his goal.
93 Not Out is a delightful film that provides inspiration from start to finish.

Film Review: Caposhi Pop

Caposhi Pop is a fun crime comedy thriller that emulates aspects of Tarantino and many other genre crime/gangster films. The film opens in a diner and remains there for the rest of the film. The single location film focuses on the criminal protagonists as they hold up the diner.

caposhi_pop_poster_06Caposhi Pop is almost nior-ish in its execution. Whilst the visuals do look effective the film focuses more on the characters’ interaction and the dialogue which, whilst it is profanity driven, is entertaining.

Interestingly the audience are out into the place of one of the characters through first person shooting, a little like the British TV show Peep Show. This helps to bring the audience into the story and get invested within the narrative.

This film focuses on the criminals rather than the victims, and in actual fact we barely see the victims, instead focusing on that time between the robbery and the police showing up. What do criminals do in that time? This is what Caposhi Pop explores. Much like another short film Time To Kill, which focuses on what a hitman does whilst waiting for his mark, this film focuses on what robbers do whilst waiting for the police to commence negotiations. What this does effectively is give some humanity and personality to characters ordinarily can be very one sided.

The story is almost in real time and is well constructed to keep the pace. The background music of police sirens helps keep up the tension. The performances are well executed and provide both comedy and tension through their performances. The film is well edited with an interesting use of animation for the main titles and the odd advert or special effect thrown in during the film for switching from one scene to another, this can be beneficial when using a single location to avoid poor cuts.

Caposhi Pop is a fun film with an unexpected twist at the end.

Film Review: Flame

Flame is a wonderful short film that explores both sacrifice and self-sacrifice for the greater good. In under three minutes the film manages to portray a story that could easily fill the running time for a feature film. And it does it well.

flame_poster02From the opening scene the breath-taking imagery strike an impression on the audience. The animation within the film is absolutely stunning with contrasting colours and delicate Asian inspired artistry. The action scenes are dramatic and just as beautiful in their construction.

The lack of dialogue in the film takes nothing from the story. The attention to detail in the animation of the characters breathes life into them without the need for dialogue and a cleverly written story propels itself forward. Emotion is clear on the faces of the characters, despite their pixelated origins. The story utilises the automatic connection audiences have with child characters and uses the emotion of that child to draw the audience into the story. This is then passed on to the mother so that the audience continue to invest in the characters.

Flame is clever written for such a short piece of film, and the extent to which the directorial and production team have paid attention to detail and quality is impressive. The story doesn’t feel rushed or under developed and they animation is seamless and sophisticated with a story that is both touching and dramatic.

As an audience member I would be intrigued to see what the team could produce if this was extended to a longer length, if this is what they can produce in under four minutes it should be something to behold.

Fire is an excellent example of what can be done with a minimal time scale and no dialogue.

Film Review: Imaginary Novels – Volume 1

Imaginary Novels beings with a quote from Stephen King over a beautiful background made up of a montage of books. This imagery foreshadows what is to come well, as this short film is a montage of short image narratives based on famous novels. A uniquely beautiful interpretation of some of the most well-known stories in the world.

gifford_imaginarynovelsmovieposter3-2-7mb-september2016fbImaginary Novels offers beautiful, often ethereal imagery as a visual representation of a famous book. A number of these are linked together within this film. Not only do these short narratives provide stunning imagery to match the novel but they also provide musical overtones that provide an atmosphere that compliments the images. The overall effect is one of actually jumping into the book itself.

Each segment is cleverly edited together using the spine and title of the book which gives the voer all feeling of one film, rather than a number of shorter films thrown together. There is a continuity that transverses the entire film despite being split into a number of different stories.

There are no words, aside from on screen text snippets from each novel used. This focuses the audience onto the visuals that are the epicentre of this piece. It is these imaginative visuals that draw the audience in and provide a unique interpretation of each book. Despite the visuals not actually telling a story, the way they have been presented results in an image that sums up the books heart and pulls the audience in.

Imaginary Novels is uniquely beautiful in its presentation and construction providing something that is almost hypnotic in its visual dexterity. A stunning piece of film that brings together a variety of techniques to provide a piece of film that is a pleasure to watch for any book lover, providing a new take on a number of favourites.

Film Review: Lutfi

We start with two seemingly bizarre characters. One old man about to jump to his death, another who appears from rowing boat on the land behind him. Despite them both being in dire straits they seem worlds apart. Until they start to talk.

lti_afi_2What is wonderful about this opening scene is that it is a homeless man that saves a life, rather than somebody saving a homeless man. It emphasises that the people we see and assume have issues, aren’t always the ones suffering the most.

As we get further into the film we see that this man that tried to kill himself is suffering from a severe depression. Yet, we then learn that there are others that are also suffering. The film demonstrates that the people around us are all fighting their own demons. Our main protagonist utilises one of these demons to get an acquaintance to kill him. He uses somebody else’s misery to end his own.

Lufti is a creative and unique piece of storytelling that is compelling in its construction. It focuses on misery and yet provides a release for both of its main characters at the end of the film, but not in the way the audience would expect.

Well scripted and superbly acted this slow burning film is atmospheric and melancholic throughout. Minimal locations and simplistic stylings make this film purely about the characters and their story arcs. Accomplished writing drives this story forward and the performances are what make it as enthralling as it is.

Strong directing and editing highlight the films strengths and an ethereal, light and slow musical pace create a forlorn atmosphere that perfectly accompanies the tone of the film.

Lufti is a strong piece of film that deals with a deep and somewhat troubling topic yet provides in a manner that is watchable and encompassing. The story and the performances stick with you once the film has finished, which is the sign of accomplished storytelling.

Film Review: Sick in Africa

The documentary opens with an upbeat piece of traditional music that is juxtaposed to the on screen text which talks of pain and suffering of the residents of the African town we are in. We focus on one elderly resident who has lived through some horrendous times.

sickinafrica-webposterNow, this man faces sickness, and in a country where education and medicine is minimal this can be much more serious than in other countries. This is the topic of this film. It focuses on the issues related to being ill in a country where resources are minimal. Here there are still many who believe in spirits and other worldly reasons for suffering, for which there are home medicines and treatments.

This film is immensely intriguing for those that are not familiar with this area of the world as it explores a culture that is not readily understood. This particular topic is dealt with through the eyes of a number of residents of the area who offer unique perspectives on the issues surrounding being ill in this part of the world.

The music offers a traditional soundtrack as we navigate the different areas surrounding the original location and get different perspectives on healthcare. This keeps an upbeat feel to a topic that could easily be all too depressing.
The film is well edited using simple cuts and well placed animations to demonstrate travelling between locations. The interviews have been edited together in a linear fashion that gives the piece an actual story that is tense and heart breaking at times .

Sick in Africa provides an insight into healthcare in circumstances that many of us have never, and will never, experience. It helps to provide an understanding and sympathy to a culture that many have little knowledge of.

A well-produced documentary that utilises its material effectively to provide a piece that appeals to audiences and utilises a particular character to bring the audience in and gets them to invest in the film.

Film Review: The Weekend

The introduction to this film is one filled with intrigue and questions, which is exactly how a film should open. You immediately want to know why these characters are in the situation they are in. A number of quick jump cuts brings the audience to the main body of the film without masses of irrelevant exposition.

the-weekend-poster-webWe are then thrown into a poignant and affectionate character study of these two characters, each experiencing their own different yet similar pains and struggles. They come together and despite being strangers they form a bond and begin to help each re-discover who they are.

What is striking about this film is the distinct lack of extended dialogue. There are conversations, but the real meaning, the real heart comes from the actions of the characters. How they interact with each other and how they respond to each other, which at times is purely beautiful.

The editing is strong, even the jump cuts do not feel over used and don’t distract from the action or bring the audience out of the film. The subtle but effective use of music adds to the mood of the film and changes to reflect the scene with barely noticeable synergy.

The performances are a pleasure to watch with real variables in terms of emotions and reactions. The characters are tangible and bounce off each other with ease and at times raw emotion that makes your heart skip a beat. A true delight to watch and a testament to the human condition.

The Weekend draws you in as a story about heartache and pain and leaves you feeling uplifted and ready to go out and offer food to a stranger. It breaks you down to lift you right back up. An impressive display of film making.