And so we have come to the final day of the festival, and what a festival it’s been! Having never attended anything like it before, I was truly astounded by the level of filmmaking talent on show. The final day screened the festival’s animations and Best Short nominations, both of which categories had some real gems amongst them. Here are my highlights from day four of the festival.
Shooting Star ★★★★☆
The opening film of the day was this charming short film about eternal love and the uncertainty of life after death. A young man loses his wife to an unspecified illness and spends over ten years searching for signs of her spirit in the stars. Whilst the narrative is nothing particularly new, it addresses the age old story of love existing beyond death in a sweet and enjoyable fashion. The use of colour was particularly effective, using a blue tint for night time scenes that gave them a mystical, ethereal quality suitable for liaising with the spirit of his dead wife. This then contrasted beautifully with the stark reality of daylight. As I said, nothing new, but ticks all the boxes for a tearjerking romance.
Lost Girl ★★★☆☆
Whilst it had an interesting plot, and excellent acting performances, my main issue with this thriller was that it was unsurprising. The plot concerns two private detectives tracking down a young woman who went missing over 15 years prior. It was a generally enjoyable film; however there was no thrill as there were no unexpected moments. Unfortunately, the twist that the entire film builds up to will not take anyone by surprise, and consequently I don’t feel as though it really hits the target as a thriller.
This short animation was absolute comedy gold, telling the story of the birth of animation through the mouths of cartoons. And not just any cartoons! This gem of a film parodies a number of famous animated characters, including Betty Boop, Fred Flintstone, and Mickey Mouse, in a new and hilarious manner. In addition to being a comic delight, Stickman casually critiques the culture of celebrity without its commentary being overbearing. Brilliant fun, definitely worth a look.
Frankenstein’s Monster ★☆☆☆☆
In comparison to the rest of the animations on offer, this particular short had very little going for it. I shan’t give a plot summary, as everyone is fairly aware of the Frankenstein’s monster mythology and this film barely deviates from the conventional pattern. The screenplay is very poorly written, the style of animation is neither complex nor interesting, and overall was a very boring experience.
Titanic Love ★★★★★
This comedy short cleaned up at the awards, and with good reason! Cynic Jack is struggling with his Titanic obsessed girlfriend Lucy, and her desire to go on an expensive Titanic re-enactment cruise. With the help of his friends, Jack comes up with a budget solution, and he and his girlfriend learn to understand one another a little better. With a witty and brilliantly written screenplay, fantastic performances from all the cast, and unique interpretations of the Titanic story, this comedy short is not one to be missed!
So that’s it! My final highlights article for the Southampton International Film Festival. Over the course of the weekend, I laughed, cried, fell asleep (only once!), but it’s been a fantastic experience. The festival will be back next year, hopefully bigger and better than ever before, so make sure you go and check it out.