SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK
Shadows Film FestShadows off the beaten path
Indies, foreigns, docs, revivals and shorts...
On this page - 31st BFI Flare (page 1 of 3):
BURN BRIDGE | CLASH | DES!RE | EDMUND THE MAGNIFICENT
HALF A LIFE | MISSED CONCEPTIONS | OUTLINES | THE SERMON
< <
  S H O R T S   > >
last update 17.Apr.18
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL

Half a Life   4/5  
dir Tamara Shogaolu
17/Egypt 12m
Half a Life
Half a Life This beautifully made documentary short uses animation to recreate scenes of shocking bigotry and violence. It's a clever approach that brings the central themes home with real power as, for example, a young man describes stopping a gay hate crime and then being dragged into custody himself, after which the police lied about the entire grisly incident. Filmmaker Shogaolu's approach is personal, involving and darkly upsetting, which adds a sense of urgency that demands action. The film also cleverly weaves in a variety of animation styles (including some cool ancient Egyptian art) as well as live-action news footage. And the central point is terrifying: no one in Egypt has any human rights anymore, and gay people have it even worse. It's a simple, moving film that ends with a plea to simply be allowed to live.

24.Mar.18 • IRIS PRIZEBFI FLARE

Clash   3.5/5  
dir-scr Martin Edralin
dir-scr Amrou Al-Kadhi
narr Tim McInnerny
17/UK 8m
Clash
Clash An experimental short that provocatively explores Britain's colonial history, this film combines archival clips with colourful new footage to make a strong comment about the repercussions of being under-represented in the media. The perspective comes from second and third generation Brits who simply never see themselves on big or small screens, so in the streets it's hardly surprising that they're treated as stereotypes who aren't really British. The central focus here is on the irony of a nation that installed itself in other countries around the world then rejecting those people when they arrive in the UK. Filmmaker Al-Kadhi sharply reflects bigotry relating to race, religion and sexuality, urging people to get out there and validate themselves. The style is a bit silly, but it's also witty and pointed. And rightfully angry.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE

Burn Bridge   3/5  
dir-scr Rhys Marc Jones
with Charlie Rice, Macaulay Cooper, Amy Cartledge, Lucy Aklam, Imogen Miller-Porter, Bob Mallow
17/UK 16m
rice
Burn Bridge There's a strong sense of detail in this short drama, even without any real dialog. The story is a vivid one packed with resonance, but filmmaker Jones recounts it in snippets of almost impressionistic imagery. It's told from the perspective of Harry (Rice) a teen in Yorkshire who has an unspoken crush on his best friend Jamie (Cooper). As they hang out, stealing mum's weed and joking about her vibrator, Harry is struggling with the fact that Jamie has a new girlfriend, Lucy (Cartledge). So Harry makes the bold decision to let Jamie know how he feels. The filmmaking is earthy and real, but since the narrative is limited to fragments of moments, the film itself feels somewhat unfinished. Even so, its themes are haunting.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE

Outlines   3.5/5  
dir-scr Ellie Rogers
with Niamh McGrady, Helen Daniels, Stuart Sessions, Lauren Cato
17/UK 16m daniels
Outlines With its single setting and limited cast, this short drama is deceptively small-scale. The characters are complex and intriguing, becoming increasingly engaging as the dynamic shifts between them. It opens as the teen Sarah (Daniels) arrives home to find an envelope of cash on the table. She pockets it before her father (Sessions) can come downstairs, but the person who emerges from his room is Jess (McGrady), a woman he has hired for the night. Their meeting is strained: Sarah is surly and Jess is suspicious, but there's a strange connection between them, which comes into focus when a delivery girl (Cato) arrives with a pizza. Writer-director Rogers shoots this in one room, striking featuring London's night skyline out the window. But since the film centres on glances and glares, it often feels almost achingly slow. This almost silent, introspective style may be low on energy but it does offer some intriguing insight as these two women discover an unspoken secret.

24.Mar.18 • IRIS PRIZEBFI FLARE

Des!re   4.5/5  
dir Campbell X
17/UK 9m
Des!re
Des!re An experimental documentary shot in black and white, this short film cleverly features people whose gender isn't at first obvious. In blurring these lines, filmmaker Campbell offers a remarkably fresh exploration of the concept of desire: the speeding heartbeat, a physical turn-on, that sense of connection. The camerawork is bold and raw, catching details of each of the people on-screen, from faces and bodies to clothing. This allows Campbell and her subjects to explore ideas like machismo through the eyes of people who are "straddling identities", notably how micro-movements define gender and hint at internal attitudes. And ultimately, it's of course about people who are merely looking to be accepted for who they are. With its groovy, jazzy tone, the film offers several eye-opening moments that make it strongly important.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE

Missed Conceptions   3/5  
dir-scr Ruby Parker-Harbord with Rachel Waring, Emily Tucker, Michael Akinsulire, David Alwyn, Kieron Jecchinis
17/UK 16m
waring and tucker
Missed Conceptions Set in 1994 London (it's based on a true story), this is an amusing and darkly engaging little drama about lesbian couple Ruth and Helen (Waring and Tucker), who are trying to get pregnant. Their gay friend Tim (Akinsulire) says no to providing sperm, so they interview a series of candidates in a rather wacky montage. From here the film shifts its tone somewhat awkwardly from offbeat comedy to heavy melodrama. It's nicely written and played, especially as a a series of events require Ruth and Helen to reconsider their roles in becoming a parent. This is very sweetly written and played, and the film has quite a lot to say about a complex situation. But after changing the mood so drastically, writer-director Ruby Parker-Harbord struggles to regain the film's equilibrium. Still, it's a strong statement about the bigotry built into the health system.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE

Edmund the Magnificent   4/5  
dir-scr Ben Ockrent
with David Bradley, Mark Bonnar, Rebecca Front
narr Ian McKellen
17/UK 14m
bradley
Edmund the Magnificent You could perhaps argue that writer-director Okrent had too much money for this film, as its slick, high-budget approach and big-name stars make most other shorts look rather shabby. But it's also a fiendishly clever little movie, with a pointed message underlying the witty fairy tale plot. With rhyming narration spoken with a twinkle by McKellen, the film recounts the story of a farmer (Bradley) who wants to recapture his title in a pig-raising contest. So he cashes in his savings and buys a piglet named Edmund from a neighbour. Then as he's fattening him up, he tries to get Edmund to mate, but he simply isn't interested in females. Things get a bit dark from here, as the farmer struggles with what to do next, but the film maintains its jaunty tone right to the witty conclusion. It's a terrific mix of expert writing, directing, cinematography and editing, beautifully designed and packing a strong punch.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE

The Sermon   5/5  
dir-scr Dean Puckett
with Molly Casey, Grant Gillespie, Oliver Monaghan, Denise Stephenson, Emma White
18/UK 12m
casey and monaghan
The Sermon In the style of a florid English period drama (think Ben Wheatley meets Robin Hardy), this mini-thriller is quite simply unmissable. It may take a rather obvious approach to its topic, but the acting and filmmaking continually add witty, inventive angles. It's set in an isolated religious community in the British countryside, where a pastor (Gillespie) is accusing his daughter Ella (Casey) of an abomination because she was caught in bed with another woman. Now she will be forced to marry the young man (Monaghan) selected for her. Where this goes is intentionally shocking, involving kidnappings and poisonings. Writer-director Dean Puckett shoots this in a lush, sunny style that plays with the settings and characters, who are sharply well played by an up-for-it cast. The implication is that this is the UK post-Brexit, and the stylised approach adds both humour and horror. But even more important is the emotional subtext, which is genuinely wrenching. It's a striking, intense little epic. And hopefully Puckett gets to make a feature soon.

24.Mar.18 • BFI FLARE


back to the top send shadows your reviews!

< <   S H O R T S   > >
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL

© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK