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Indies, foreigns, docs, revivals and shorts...
On this page - 31st BFI Flare (page 3 of 3):
BEDSIDE SURGEON | BETWEEN HERE & NOW | BLOOD OUT OF A STONE
IN OUR FLESH | LDR | SLEEPOVER | THIRST | URSINHO | VERTICAL LINES
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last update 18.Apr.18
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL

LDR   3.5/5  
dir-scr James Kleinmann
with Ethan Wayne, James Kleinmann, Stacy Kessler, Mark Karten, Claudia Morcroft
17/US 14m
wayne and kleinmann
LDR A high-concept short with a relatively simple narrative, this film explores a long-distance relationship using split screens. Seb (filmmaker Kleinmann) lives in London while his boyfriend Rick (Wayne) lives in New York. So maintaining a relationship is tricky, requiring regular webcam conversations to share experiences, eat together, watch movies and even have sex. But they are longing to move in together, and working out ways to meet up when they are travelling. As they manage this situation, they get added pressure from their families: Seb's mother is supportive, but Rick's parents want them to keep their relationship quiet. Kleinmann keeps the film's tone light and loose, and he and Wayne have a relaxed and smiley charm. So even if the story is a little thin, it touches on real issues and raises provocative ideas to get us thinking.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Bedside Surgeon   3/5  
dir Sian Alexandra Williams
scr Brad Cohen
with Luigi Ambrosio, Joe Gilmore
narr Matthew Williams
17/UK 7m
Bedside Surgeon
Bedside Surgeon Experimental filmmaker Williams never really tries to tell a story with this film. Rather, it's an expression of the emotions within a moment. Shot in artful black and white, this is a performance art piece as dancers Ambrosio and Gilmore roll on the floor, interacting and intertwining in increasingly acrobatic ways. Then there's a dramatic shift in tone, a splash of pulsing orange, and a sense a tension develops between them as one pushes the other away. Meanwhile, a voiceover recites Brad Cohen's poem about the feeling when strong affection reveals itself to be little more than animalistic lust. As a short film, this is ethereal and loose, but the mesmerising visuals create an intriguing sense of connection. What the title means is anyone's guess.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Blood Out of a Stone   4/5  
dir-scr Ben Allen
with Oisin Stack, Alex Austin, Amber James
17/UK 14m
stack and austin
Blood Out of a Stone Strikingly well shot with a terrific sense of the settings, this film keeps its focus sharply locked on two characters whose interaction is tricky and unexpected. It's about two strangers who meet up for a date, but before dinner Michael (Stack) sends Dan (Austin) on a scavenger hunt, listening to each others' music as they procure a series of items they think the other will like. Writer-director Allen stirs plenty of offbeat edges in, giving the actors plenty to work with. And both are superb at finding internal edges, shifting from laughter to intense scrutiny as they share information. Both are clearly hopeful that something might happen. It's remarkably naturalistic, never drifting into the usual movie dating cliches. And ultimately it's a clever mix of easy interaction and darker undercurrents, exploring the way we sabotage possibilities.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Between Here & Now   3.5/5  
dir-scr Jannik Splidsboel
with Francesco Martino, Peder Bille, Peter Oliver Hansen
18/Denmark 22m
martino and bille
Between Here & Now There's an intriguing vagueness to this dramatic film, which is skilfully shot and edited like a full-length feature. It centres on Tony (Martino), who is visiting Copenhagen for work. On his own for the night, he goes to a bar and meets Oscar (Bille), then invites Tony back home for a drink. From here, the film continually threatens to spiral into a thriller, as Tony juggles his thoughts about Oscar with his clearly shady assignment, which is extended over a few days. This adds layers of intrigue to both the mysterious goings-on and the subtly developing relationship between these two men. Both actors bring earthy energy to their characters, with a nice sense of awkward interaction and easy attraction that leads to a nice connection between them. So even if the plot is rather under-explained, the possibilities keep us watching.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Sleepover   3.5/5   Sova Över
dir-scr Jimi Vall Peterson
with Hjalmar Hardestam, Simon Eriksson
18/Sweden 9m
hardestam and eriksson
Sleepover An introspective style of filmmaking makes this short, rather light little Swedish film linger in the memory. It centres on two young teens who have a relaxed, silly night out at the movies. instead of travelling home Emil (Hardestam) decides to stay over with Adam (Eriksson). Into the night, they chat about the usual things like their jobs and their classmates at school. But as they get ready for bed, they become more quiet and thoughtful. And both find it difficult to sleep. The film is beautifully shot in a way that catches the unspoken thoughts beneath the silly banter. Each boy has a distinct personality, sharply played by the young actors and skilfully observed by filmmaker Peterson. Every moment is fraught with possibilities, leading to a wonderfully played silent scene over breakfast in the morning. Say something, anything.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Thirst   3/5  
dir-scr Eoin Maher
with Aaron Lee, Richard Hay
17/UK 9m
lee
Thirst There's a naive quality to this film that makes it feel oddly simplistic, as filmmaker Maher seems to be pining for days gone by. But what he's yearning for never really existed at all, and maybe that's the point. It's a stream-of-consciousness as a guy (Lee) speaks directly to camera as he walks away from an unsatisfying sexual encounter. His monolog is a rant against dating apps, because merely swiping right doesn't let people properly connect or converse. "I want more," he says, convinced that his perfect man is out there. So he decides to try the bar again, even as he concludes that most men just don't like themselves very much. Clearly, it's this guy who has the problem, stemming from his own unrealistic expectations for a fantasy relationship he saw at the movies. But the film hints that he knows this, which makes it feel profoundly sad. It's also beautifully shot on the dark and empty streets, vividly capturing the torturous mental gymnastics of a lonely walk home.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Vertical Lines   5/5  
dir Kyle Reaume
scr Kyle Reaume, Nick Neon
with Nick Neon, Kyle Reaume
18/Canada 14m
neon and reaume
Vertical Lines With a relaxed, funny tone, this clever little film depicts a remarkably realistic connection between two guys who have just started a relationship and are both preoccupied with their own issues. After some dancing, they end up in bed talking about how little they know about each other. Andrew (Neon) asks about the scars Dave (Reaume) has on his arm, leading to a discussion of self-harm. But the vertical scars are from a suicide attempt when he was 17. And Andrew confesses that he also tried to kill himself at 16 after coming out to his parents and being rejected. The film is beautifully shot to create an unnervingly intimate, honest atmosphere in which these guys can lower their guard in ways they never have before. And while the central theme is intensely disturbing, it's handled in a way that's never heavy even as it digs deep. So without preaching, this engaging, entertaining film sparks important conversation about self-image, encouraging viewers to share things that are difficult to talk about and to never be afraid to ask someone a tough question.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

Ursinho   4/5  
dir-scr Stephane Olijnyk
with Digao Ribeiro, Rafael Braga, Wilson Rabelo, Luis Furlanetto, Sonia Zagury, Alexandre Oliveira Rocha
18/Brazil 45m
ribeiro and braga
Ursinho With its extended running time, this Brazilian short tells a story with the weight of a feature. It's beautifully shot with a terrific sense of various settings around Rio, from the rough slums to gleaming beaches. And the actors deliver understated performances that feel sometimes uncomfortably authentic. At the centre is 30-year-old Ursinho (Ribeiro), which means Little Bear, a big black man living in a favela with his demanding disabled father (Rabelo). One day, Ursinho's father sends him down into Copacabana to cook and clean for the wealthy Fortissimo (Furlanetto), who rents his spare room to a hot young escort (Braga) who catches Ursinho's interest. But Ursinho is too chubby to attract his interest, and too poor to pay for his services. Things change when Ursinho gets up the nerve to talk to him, setting in motion a series of events leading to a confrontation with his controlling father. The film sharply captures the feelings of this grown man who has never been allowed to be himself. And then he discovers that the object of his affection might not be so different under the surface. Where the story goes is awkward and surprising, and the twists and turns of Ursinho's story are both chilling and moving.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE

In Our Flesh   2.5/5  
dir-scr Kit Patrick Dafoe
with Felix Dobson, Jemma Clarke, Charlie Bradbury, Lois Bain, Abby D'Lima, Eve Tuatova
18/UK 9m
In Our Flesh
In Our Flesh A young woman makes it past a tetchy female bouncer to get inside a darkly fantastical nightclub. But men run from her when they realise she's trans, and the bouncer snaps her photo to humiliate her on a "wall of shame". With deep blacks and dark colours, this artfully shot film is a moody, pulsating swirl of dance-floor scenes cross-cut with surreal visions of naked men and women embracing and rejecting their bodies. Because it's so otherworldly, the film is rather difficult to unpick. Is it an exploration of body-consciousness, and how all of us feel inadequate in our skin? Is it a pointed comment about bigotry and hate crimes? Is it just an artful exploration of how people act out when they're unhappy with themselves? Whatever, aside from the importance of the theme, the film feels somewhat indulgent.

1.Apr.18 • BFI FLARE


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