REVIEWS AND BLOG

Rooftops of My City

What an incredible accomplishment in a film that is so simple and understated. I say this a lot in these reviews, but often the films that make the biggest impact are those that are the most unassuming. Those films that focus purely on the point they are trying to make rather than impactful visuals or over zealous FX are the ones that hit to the emotions of the audience.

Rooftops does this superbly, offering (almost) a single location and (almost) a single shot it focuses on the two main characters in a town they don’t originate from both trying to work out who and what they are in a world obsessed with labels. The film looks at identity and how we see ourselves. Is it based on where we are from? Our genes? Or how we feel at a particular time in our lives? Do we have to have a label or can we not just be us? Again, these topics are dealt with in a particularly straight forward way but one that is equally well developed and thought through.

The production value is strong, with beautiful continuous shots mixed in with close ups. Whilst the film is set in one/two spots on a roof, the direction is such that the characters placements add different textures and dynamics to the scene.

A wonderfully produced and directed short film with a well thought out script. Not overstated or in your face yet thoroughly engaging.

Lady Electric

Unused potential is often one of the saddest things in the world, but using it is often one of the scariest. Lady Electric is such a simple, understated little film with such a devastatingly beautiful heart at it’s centre, and that heart shines through transforming it into something much brighter.

For a film that focuses almost entirely on an exchange between a carer and a patient, and with a running time of under ten minutes. it delivers quite the bang in terms of story and emotional impact. The characters interact well and their strained relationship is tangible, but so is their connection. Their is an obvious bitterness from the patient but once she sees something in her carer, something she recognises we see her change. This is where the true beating heart of the film comes into play, and where we see the depth of the characters come to the surface.

The dialogue used is well written and developed and never really feels expositional or unnatural, which is an achievement in itself. When you consider there are only two characters with a limited time frame it is even more admirable that the dialogue wasn’t more on-the-nose.

The performances are strong without being over the top or stereotypical and the cinematography/photography is simple yet effective. Though the production value is high, the film hinges on its story and characters and that isn’t lost at any point in the film, it doesn’t try to over-dramatise itself but instead remains true to its aims.

An honest and beautiful film that all involved should be proud of.

Bakalu Studio Composition

Experimental films are often much more likely to be misinterpreted than any other type of film, however they are also more freely open to individual interpretation, and therein lies their intrigue. Watching them with somebody else often results in very different ideas on what the film was about and what it is representing. Bakalu Studio Composition is no different.

There is a lot to be said for making watching the same woman in a variety of stances and carrying out a variety of movements interesting, yet here we see it. A piece of film of over five minutes that doesn’t lose the audience, but in fact holds their attention throughout.

The films purpose and message is of course open to interpretation, however seeing the female carrying out the variety of moves, facial expressions and stances brings to mind the various emotions and aspects of our personality that all vie for top position at any one time. Situations don’t always elicit only a single response, and the dominant response doesn’t always remain so. Here we see different movements and actions moving from the forefront to the back ground much as our emotions do. This is one interpretation, there are probably many more.

The sounds used are a mixture and seem to be an amalgamation of a variety of sounds and music which mirror what is going on on screen, the different types of sound all working together mochas the various images are. The production is simple yet effective and it all results in an intriguing piece that will get you scratching your head.

Taste Of Night

There is really only one word that can describe this film, and that is beautiful. From the setting to the costume to the people in the costumes. Everything is stunning. I have spoken many times before about the use of dialogue free short films, and how much harder it is to hold an audience when there is no dialogue for them to interact with. Here we see. Film that is so seductive in its visuals that I honestly. Relieve dialogue would have ruined it.

The narrative needs no words to pull it along. It’s subtleties and subtext only add it it’s unwaivering allure, from the somewhat obvious story of meeting someone, liking them and then it all going wrong to the deeper underlying subtleties of relationships and their undulations and complications. It really is a phenomanal piece of story telling accomplished to a high standard.

This cannot be achieved without excellent actors, and in this case dancers, to portray the emotion within a scene. I think the dance element is used very cleverly here because both the movements and the music of dance are very emotionally driven and this emphasises the emotion within the scenes and interactions in a way man other dialogue free films don’t.

The cinematography, editing, lighting, costume, make up, hair, set design are all exquisite and befitting of a much bigger film, kudos to the entire team for that accomplishment. It really is admirable.

What really got me was the twist at the end. I did not see that coming at all and it threw me intitially, but then as I thought about it it makes sense and provides a satisfying ending to the film.

Beautiful, glorious visual story telling at its finest. Just brilliant.

Compulsion

Ever have those days at work where you feel utterly under valued and completely used? But then you meet that someone, that light at the end of the tunnel and suddenly the days are bit less dark, a bit less tedious. What if that person was a toilet?

Yup. A toilet. Makes sense, as it already offers us relief in our times of need.

This film on the surface is completely ridiculous, but it’s an intentional ridiculousness. Underneath that comedic stupidity is a film that actually deals with a very real issue. Going into work everyday feeling completely unfulfilled and motivated, seeing those around you succeed and your boss use and abuse you can drive you to do things you would never normally do.

The film not only looks at the divide between manager and employee, but also how that manager uses and abuses everything and everyone around him. That’s what drives the lead character to his climactic finale, and these times of Trump and allegations of abuse, this film is actually quite appropriate.

Whilst this film deals with its issues with comedy, there are moments of very real emotion and every now and then it’s realities bubble to the surface. The lead actor does a great job of providing both comedy and very real emotion, giving us a character that it is ash to empathise with.

The production quality is admirable, with good use of music and accomplished directing. The support cast are also good providing an all round enjoyable film.

Leecher

Sometimes the most effective films are those that are seemingly of no consequence from the opening. They start out low level and inconspicuous but build into something that sticks with you long after they have ended. This is what we see here.

The film opens on a couple in a non-description room, evidently having an important meeting but we are never fully given the answers to what the problem is. This all adds to the building intrigue surrounding this apparent virus. We appear to join the film in the middle of what is happening, which means we are not laden with a ton of back story or build up. This helps the audience to invest quickly.

The film then gives us just enough information to work out what is going on without overloading us with exposition dialogue or unnecessary scenes. There is a beautiful subtlety to the film that adds intrigue but also makes the audience think and join the dots. This is the kind of writing that draws in an audience.

The lead actors are both outstanding, using subtleties of body language and not overstating their actions. There is a tangible affection between the two that only makes the ending more effecting.

There is a dull visual tone to the film that matches the general mood of the lead male, and works well to set the atmosphere of the piece. The use of blues and greys is a strong visual representation of what the male is feeling.

Overall a very strong film, well made and well executed with a delightfully open ending.

Timeline

Simple cinema is often the most effective. Films like Tangerine and Moonlight have recently caused ripples in mainstream cinema yet on the surface they are simple. Minimal locations, minimal cast and in the case of Tangerine filmed on an iPhone. Yet these films often come with an intimacy and an emotional honesty that films with the bigger budgets, sets and casts often don’t.

This is what we are provided with here. This short film deals with an in dibley emotionally frought topic that needs that honesty in order for it to be portrayed eloquently and to do it justice. This films succeeds admirably in that quest.

The single setting and minimal cast means that it’s easy for the audience to invest quickly in the story and characters as they learn about them almost instantly. The drama that is already unfolding as we enter the film draws us in and keeps us there as we discover what has drawn these characters to the situation they are in.

Despite the films simplistic origins the production quality is excellent and there is nothing within it that distracts from the action. The script is well written without using cliches or tropes to get its point across and keeps enough mystery to one side so the audience stays involved.

The lead actors portray the emotion of the film well and with honesty. Both characters are easy to relate to and to empathise with, which is part of the charm of the film. Nothing about the performances feels fake or contrite.

Overall a well produced and executed short film that uses simple techniques to deliver a powerful short film.