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Boys on Film 15: Time & Tied - CLOSETS | CROSSROAD | MORNING IS BROKEN
NIGHTSTAND | PUTTING ON THE DISH | TROUSER BAR
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last update 16.Aug.16
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
Boys on Film 15: Time & Tied
Nine British shorts make up this collection, representing comedy, drama and a touch of fantasy. Each short grapples with some big issues involving sexuality, gender, drugs and, most pointedly, bullying. Intriguingly, there's a strong sense of self-doubt among the characters in these shorts, and watching their brief journeys can offer a glimmer of hope. release UK 15.Aug.16 • 16/UK Peccadillo 2h13 18 themes, sexuality, violence
dir-scr Lloyd Eyre-Morgan
with Tommy Lawrence Knight, Ceallach Spellman, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Janet Bamford, Jason Done
Clever and pointed, the film is very nicely shot, with strong performances by the two young lead actors. In 1986, Susan (Banford) is horrified to find her teen son Henry (Knight) dancing in a dress, and she lets him have it. Henry is crushed by her rejection and hides in his closet, pondering what to do next. When he emerges, he finds a stranger Ben (Spellman) in his room, and everything has changed. There's a poster of Tom Daley on the wall that says 2016, and Ben's mother (Hesmondhalgh), who can't see Henry, is fine with Ben being gay but harps on at him about protection. Where this goes is a little on-the-nose and intense, but it also has raw power, stressing the importance of honesty both with yourself and those you love. As these boys share their experiences, both express similar feelings of fear about homophobic abuse. And their shared emotions are powerfully moving. Especially with the closing title card reminder that more than half of young gay people are bullied, and 41 percent have thought about suicide as a result.
also at IRIS PRIZE FEST • 10.Jul.16
|Putting on the Dish
dir-scr Brian Fairbairn, Karl Eccleston
with Steve Wickenden, Neil Chinneck
On a park bench in the 1960s, two strangers sit down and begin speaking in Polari, a form of slang used in Britain before homosexuality was decriminalised. They understand each other, but the words sounds like gibberish to outsiders, virtually impossible to decode. It's shot simply to vividly capture the setting and sharply played to reveal strong personalities and attitudes. And while what they say makes little sense, how they feel comes through, from their tentative approach to quietly dropping their guard for a bit of sassy gossip and some more personal revelations. And there's a startling kick to it, as it takes a complex route through the subject matter, exploring layers of bigotry that are deeply unnerving even today. Since it's spoken in a forgotten dialect, the nuances will only emerge on repeated viewings.
dir Charlie Parham
scr Amrou Al-Kadhi
with Amrou Al-Kadhi, Nicholas Gleaves, James Wallwork, Amma Boateng, Emma Amos, Hugh Wyld, Julian Von Petrovsky
Loose and energetic, this film opens as Ramsey (Al-Kadhi) is running late, leaving his messy flat and taking a train into London, where he heads to his job as a barman in a Soho gay club. His boss (Wallwork) is furious, but Ramsay's awkward charm works on the sad-sack customers. When his shift ends, he hooks up in a hotel room with married customer Rob (Gleaves). Over the next two nights, they meet again, drawn to a deeper connection while resisting it at the same time. The film is shot and edited with a quirky, sometimes gimmicky style that brings out the characters' attitudes as they get to know each other. The acting is a little uneven, but nicely shows how, at different stages of in their lives, both of these men have issues that they can only escape with a stranger. This is a difficult, complex mixture of attraction and self-loathing that cleverly highlights the lingering fallout from decades of institutional bigotry.
|Morning Is Broken
dir-scr Simon Anderson
with Nigel Allen, Matthew Tennyson, Jack Hawkins (Roland) Elizabeth Hopper
At his brother's wedding, Nick (Allen) meets the young Sam (Tennyson). Nick restores vintage cars, something Sam is interested in, and as they find themselves alone after the reception they find other shared interests. Nick invites Sam to go for a drive in his prized old car, and they head to Nick's nearby farm, where they row a boat out onto a pond with a couple of beers in the early morning. As their connection deepens, Sam freaks out and runs. The film is shot and edited beautifully, like a proper feature film, with deep performances from both Allen and Tennyson. It also grapples with some very big issues in a tight, focussed narrative. It's gentle and warm, darkly moving and ultimately important in the way it offers a glimmer of hope to anyone struggling with their own nature.
also at IRIS PRIZE FEST • 10.Jul.16
dir Leon Lopez
scr Mark Kibo Rovira
with Mark Kibo Rovira, Katie Collins, Ashley Campbell, Calum Ewan Cameron
Dark and moody, this thoughtful drama explores the inner turmoil of a young man struggling to come to terms with his life. Unable to sleep at night, Liam (Rivora) leaves his girlfriend Jade (Collins) asleep in bed and takes a walk through London's streets, clearly upset by something. As the sun rises, he makes a decision, returning home and giving himself a buzz haircut. He flashes back to conversations with Jade and heads back outside on a violent mission that relates to something that happened on the night before involving two men (Campbell and Cameron). Without any dialog, the film is intensely haunting. Rovira draws out strong emotions as a young man grappling with his own hidden issues. Director Leon Lopez focusses on the feelings, although the puzzle of a plot kind of struggles to come into proper focus.
also at IRIS PRIZE FEST • 10.Jul.16
dir Kristen Bjorn
with Denholm Spurr, Scott Hunter, Hans Berlin, Ashley Ryder, Zac Renfree, Craig Daniel, Julian Clary, Barry Cryer, Nigel Havers
Riotously cheeky, this superbly produced short can't technically credit the screenplay to John Gielgud due to estate issues, but rumour has it that the great actor wrote the film for iconic gay filmmaker Peter De Rome. Whatever its provenance, it's a hilariously naughty romp, wordlessly watching as a group of men gather to shop at St John's Trouser Bar in 1976 and discover a shared love of corduroy. And when things get a bit fruity in the changing rooms, passers-by in the streets jealously peer in the windows, shocked and outraged, or perhaps wishing they were inside. The film is directed by porn king Kristen Bjorn with a riotous glee, as the bouncy music (by Stephen Thrower) cleverly adds to the action of this group of men in lurid 1970s wigs and costumes. Funny, sexy and just anarchic enough to leave a smile on your face.
also at BFI FLARE • 4.Jul.16
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall