So, today I had the pleasure of beginning my coverage of the Southampton International Film Festival. I can certainly say that the selection of films on offer is incredibly diverse, and this is most apparent when considering the cinematic snacks of the day that were the short films. I laughed, I cried, I even recoiled in horror. I sat through the magical, the touching, and the downright bizarre, from all over the world. So without further ado, here are a few of both my highlights and my disappointments.
Rose, Mary, and Time ★★★★☆
Given my love of all things punny, the title of the closing film of the day immediately sparked my interest. The film concerns itself primarily with the notion of making every second of your life count. Whilst this concept is definitely a little tired, the film is charming none the less. A man is given the opportunity to go back in time and rescue the woman he loves from a brutal murderer. Though the acting from the protagonist was slightly questionable, the story itself was brilliantly written, witty, and engaging. My only major criticism would be that the narrative implies an impending disaster concerning the hands of an antique clock that it never really then follows through on. Consequently, the final twist is a little anti climactic.
A Strange Kind of Love ★★★☆☆
Whilst I can’t criticise this as a particularly poor film, I just don’t feel as though it struck the intended chord. Advertised to the audience as a thriller, the plot concerns a blind woman telling her date about her witnessing the murder of her father by her mother as a young girl. The relationship between the two escalates in a manner that I can’t say I really understood. If there was a profound point being made, then I can safely say I missed it. Whilst not dull to watch, the suspense was distinctly more palpable in other thrillers that were screened.
Pervis Plum Skips Town ★★★★☆
The only way to describe this film is utterly adorable. The funny little short is about a five year old boy who determines that he will sail from the US, to England, to France, to Bermuda, and back again, sending letters as he goes. The tone of the piece is impeccable from start to finish. Pervis’ letters are delightfully childlike, and tickle he funnybone of anyone who remembers their younger siblings at that age. The twist at the end also serves to elicit a chuckle or two.
A Poem for Lovers ★★★★★
There was no way I couldn’t mention this. Given its title, I was entirely prepared for an arty, sickeningly romantic montage of flowers and rainbows that would make me want to vacate the premises. However, A Poem for Lovers was a gothic masterpiece and was without doubt my highlight of the day. With no dialogue at all, the plot focuses on a man attempting to express in writing the loss of the love of his life as he descends further and further into hatred and drunkenness. The tone and luxuriant visuals conjure up images of Edgar Allen Poe lamenting his lost Lenore, and I remained completely transfixed throughout. Whilst I feel that the final shot extended the ending beyond the perfect point, this in no way detracted from what was a tragic and mesmerising cinematic experience.
All in all, day one of my experience has provided a great deal of food for thought and I am now eagerly awaiting what tomorrow will have to offer. Will the award nominated documentaries be all they’re cracked up to be? Keep up to date on the latest happenings at the Southampton International Film Festival with The Edge.