Not all of the pieces screening at this evening of short films were available for preview, but the two that I did see suggest that this will be a colourful and diverse selection of an under-appreciated medium.
Michael Davies’ film LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, completely wrong footed me. The simple tale of what might clumsily be termed ‘old love’, set in a retirement home, initially struck me as a bit slushy and simple. Though the two leads, played by John Hurt and Phyllida Law, are as good as you’d expect these two veteran actors to be, the story and script seemed very uneven, often resorting to cliché. However, all this turns out to be expertly setting up a wonderfully sad, elegiac twist, transforming what at first seems like false sentiment into the real thing.
Charlotte Boulay-Goldsmith’s animated THE MAN WITH A STOLEN HEART is another unexpected gem. The scratchy hand-drawn style and heavy handed narration (by another vet, Bill Nighy) is at first jarring, but the relentless visual and conceptual invention soon wins you over. The script, with its loose poetry and over-determined metaphor, is sure to be divisive, but I loved it; the confidence and ambition to mean something, all too often missing from work like this, was inspiring.
The director will be on hand for a Q+A afterwards. It will be interesting to learn how such a singular and personal vision was realized by what the credits reveal as a large crew.