Red O’Sullivan bring humour out of the ordinary in Rush, giving us an insight into the struggle we’ve all experienced between campus’. This film will have you laughing from start to finish.
First and foremost, this cleverly put together narrative proved to undoubtedly be the most relatable film of the festival. This was fairly evident given the constant laughter of the crowd throughout the entire film. From the get go, O’Sullivan transported us to a place that we all recognise – the dreary and somewhat questionable facts that we all encounter at some point whilst at university. As the students file out of the seminar room, the camera pans up from a low angle, introducing us to the main character, Anaya (Xafsa Mohamud, this year’s Best Actress winner) and instantly sets us up to relate to her.
In another demonstration of superb acting, Natalia May is almost unrecognisable as Yanaa (compared to her roles in Pethick’s Live Your Life and Beazley’s We Love You Very Much). O’Sullivan makes great use of one actress’ talent whilst shooting in a limited space; the shot she inhabits remains the same, however her attitude and various props tell the audience all they need to know about the situation in the lecture hall. Our attention remains on Anaya, we are just aware of what she is desperately trying not to miss.
The tone of the film is kept comical and upbeat by the use of the music (orchestrated by Julien Mathus), falling in perfect coordination with Anaya’s journey to Highfield Campus. Whilst Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’ provided the bounce to the comedy, it was the dramatic absence of music that provided the most laughter-provoking moments. As Anaya attempts to zoom down the stair banister, the squeak of her excruciating long slide down made us all roar. This effect is a theme throughout, with the music stopping for Anaya to realise she took the stairs when there was a ramp, the camera panning to mimic her own view. The comedy not only comes from the obstacles that she has to avoid, but also the ones she makes for herself.
Anaya also has to overcome obstacles in the form of annoying individuals. Janet’s two-faced attitude towards her friend, “What a bitch!” (despite the dramatic irony being comical) gives a slight margin of real sympathy for Anaya’s character. She’s only got herself in such a pickle as she is sprinting towards Highfield Campus for her demanding friend Yanaa. However, through these characters and their attitudes towards our heroine, O’Sullivan provides us with a very satisfying ending. Instead of giving into Yanaa’s demands or returning home to have another fake conversation with Janet, Anaya ends with the guy that was all too kind enough to run behind her the whole way to return her keys. With their happy ending also involving smoking a joint together, the student spin of the narrative continues until the very end.
Rush, directed by Red O’Sullivan, was awarded Best Picture at this year’s University of Southampton Student Film Festival. For more information about this year’s event, including photos, check out the official Facebook page here.