Comprising of 8 short films that encapsulate a multidimensional view of a country in a state of flux. Subjects such as culture, identity, racism and discrimination are explored through glimpses into a society with what at times feels like an uncertain future.
I chose a few highlights from the selection that stood out as personal favourites;
UK – Sarmad Masud (2014)
On a lunch break with his peers, nerdy teacher Pavan tells the story of his date the night before with an English girl.
Pavan regales the tale of his unusual evening and as he does, the events are played out on screen with his two friends sat together in the background as (almost) silent observers, providing a clever comedic touch as they chime in occasionally with friendly mocking or expositional titbits. We see Pavan embarrassed and backfooted by his date who has a much greater knowledge of his own culture than he does. He eats with a knife and a fork whilst she takes a more authentic approach and is in fact, fluent in Hindi. Pavan’s awkward charm is irresistibly likeable and you really root for him. In one scene he is so impressed by his date’s knowledge of his own culture that he swears she ‘knocked the brown out of him’.
The performances are all exceptional and it is seriously funny! Delivering a constant stream of laughs. This is one of the best short films at the festival and one of my favourites.
Joy In People
UK – Oscar Hudson (2017)
A vulnerable young man is advised by his therapist to spend more time with people in order to find joy in people. This takes him across town trying to fit in with different crowds who populate the area. When he finds a group of football fans watching the Euro 2016 England match, he revels in the shared experience and decides to follow the tournament to France where he blends in with the fans at each match, changing his team t-shirt as needed.
Shot in a docu-fiction style this short film covers topics such as nationalism, football hooliganism and immigration. Also looking at the treatment of vulnerable people in the UK at home and abroad. As the lone traveller so desperately tries to be part of something greater than his loneliness, viewers find his plight relatable and as the cruel side to the world eventually catches up with him and the inevitable happens, it still shocks and leaves an indelible mark.
Using football fan culture as a subtext for social tension and xenophobia, this cleverly filmed drama really excels in delivering its messages whilst being an intelligent piece of film.
UK – Jörn Threlfall (2015)
Beginning with a prolonged shot featuring very little happening on a quiet street, we are slowly guided back through events centred around a crime scene, allowing the viewer to speculate as to what is happening. The slow pacing and the slight clues one picks up as we follow a crime in reverse allows for constant guessing as to what has happened.
There is an exceptional use acting talent and each scene is enormously realistic and could be easily confused with real life footage. To explain any more would give away the heart of the piece and remove the shock that is in store.
A considerate and original piece of filmmaking that delivers a stomach punch of a jump scare and a message that sticks with you about the levels desperation can drive individuals to.