Short Film Review #16

The characters of Stalking Ben Chadz – June and Izzy – have appeared in another short film Mourning Rules which I enjoyed so I was pleased to see another film from Montserrat Lombard and Olivia Poulet along with their co-writer Daniel Castella. It’s another brief glimpse into the somewhat batty lives of these sisters, here literally stalking a guy named Ben, who Izzy has decided is the love of her life. It’s witty – the phone call is great fun – and silly and huge amounts of fun, both Lombard and Poulet have a gift for observational comedy and so it’s well worth 2 minutes 30 of your day.

Anna Chancellor is one of those actors who you could watch do anything and her role in The Transaction requires no speaking, yet it is hard to drag your eyes from her. Written by Tim Key, it’s a strange little tale of a poet and a lady who meet in a park to make a particular exchange and that’s it. It’s vague yet illusive, Key’s narration gives us context but he and Chancellor manage to speak volumes with their wordless performances, shot beautifully by Jonathan van Tulleken, reminding us of the value of human connections, however random. 


A delicately lovely thing, Claire Oakley’s film Beautiful Enough probes at how conventional stereotypes of female beauty can affect young girls and their perceptions of themselves. As her parents row behind closed doors, Alex Beckett and Phoebe Waller-Bridge voicing this argument off-screen, Miffy Englefield’s girl sets assiduously about an epic secret project in her bedroom, guided by the countless images of beautiful women plastered on her walls. It’s an impressionistic piece, dominated by Isobel Waller-Bridge’s music-box-inspired score and directed gorgeously by Oakley to create a plaintive yet compelling mood. 


Louise Brealey is about to make her playwright debut with Pope Joan next week, so it felt as good a time as any to watch this short film from 2003 featuring her as Loo Brealey. Written and directed by Nick Mackie, Tooth Faerie riffs on the archetypal childhood tale of the tooth fairy using a mix of live action and Aardman-style animation to tell a short tale of what happens when a particularly special tooth is left under the pillow. Lots of fun.


I think it is fair to say that most right-thinking people should be aware of the immense talent that is Linda Bassett and The Last Time, written and directed by Conor Horgan, places her front and centre of this film. When Evelyn receives some potentially devastating medical news, she re-evaluates her life and realises that she needs more love and sex before it is too late. But the options for a 50-something woman in Dublin are few and far between and so something of a comedy of errors emerges as she looking in all the wrong places to meet her needs. Bassett is predictably excellent, matter-of-factly amusing as she sets about getting her end away and wryly cognisant of the “disability” of her age and gender.


Arthur is special. And when he starts at a new all-boys school, he gets a rough ride from most of his classmates. But lonely schoolboy Toby strikes up a friendship with him which helps him to deal with the enduring grief of his mother’s death. Pop Art is quirky, slightly bonkers, but also really rather charming and once the meaning of the title becomes clear – brutally moving.

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