Chelmsford Film Festival: Session 2 Review

by Ian Morton

As the third day kicked off, the audience were finally given a chance to sit down with the showcase. Here’s what we thought of the second session:

 

Plane

Director: Jonas Dinal

Although it’s impossible to deny the skill both in front of and behind the camera, there was just something about Plane that didn’t quite stick. While on the run from the police, William – a wanted criminal – returns home in order to visit his younger, autistic brother, Jimmy. Packing an emotional punch, the film tests the audience as it investigates the brothers’ relationship while trying to establish empathy for a man on the run. While on the surface this may seem like an interesting dichotomy, its strength relies purely on whether the audience can relate to the protagonist and therefore may be a little hit and miss at times. Regardless of this however, Plane is well shot, beautifully structured and impressively performed and certainly deserves a look in.

 

Dog Days

Director: George Taylor

Dogs Days makes a splash as director George Taylor’s romanticised view of London resonates with the same passion often seen in a Woody Allen film. On a balmy night in the centre of London, two strangers from seemingly different worlds come together to search for a little summertime relief. While the circumstances that the couple meet are somewhat far-fetched, an impressive chemistry and interesting direction smooth away some of the cracks within the plot, resulting in a charming, modern day fairy tale that even David Nicholls would be proud of.

 

Whoever was using this bed

Director: Andrew Kotatko

Of all the films in the festival this year, Whoever Was Using This Bed was the hardest one to pin down. After moving into a new house, a married couple begin struggling with the concepts surrounding their future; taking on commitment, love and even death. On one hand, filmmaker xx is confident in his approach, forcing the audience to consider some of the questions raised in the narrative – on the other however, the performances are turbulent, with the audience never truly knowing whether they are going through turmoil together or apart. Given its current success, expectation was particularly high so it was quite disappointing to never see it hit its potential.

 

Balcony

Director: Toby Fell-Holden

A combination of clever writing and emotive performances make Balcony a must watch short film. After a new family move into a racially segregated neighbourhood, the story follows the blossoming friendship between two young girls. Easily getting one of the best reactions from the audience, Balcony always keeps you guessing with a plot that on the surface could be considered fairly predictable. Raw and brutally honest, this is certainly one that will stick with you for a while.

 

Final thoughts:

From my perspective, the stand out short here was Balcony but I certainly had a soft spot for Dog Days. While both of them were completely different, they both managed to capture my attention in a way that some of the others didn’t. Easily earning one of the best – and most unexpected – reactions from the audience, Balcony had a winning combination of script and talent that just resonated with me a lot longer than I thought it would. Dogs Days on the other hand captured a romance, not necessarily between the characters on screen but between the filmmaker and its subject. Both were thoroughly enjoyed and both will be watched again!

 

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