Norwich Film Festival content commissioned by Film East. Click on the images to view the original review.
Director Jamie Weston, 2020
Jamie Weston’s new short Wings is only 20 minutes in length but feels like it captures an entire century of humanity. The film follows a young woman, newly married and moving into her home with her husband. Just as tensions begin to rise within the relationship, World War II breaks out across Britain, forcing her husband to join the fight. Needing something to do while back home, the woman joins the Land Army girls to help the war effort from the homefront. There, she meets a fellow volunteer, and the two form a loving and compassionate relationship.
The opening of Weston’s film is very striking: as this woman enters her new home, we reflect on how ‘perfect’ her life seems to be. She has a beautiful house, a loving husband, a baby boy soon to be on the way. Even though she possesses what society would deem to be ideal, she’s still unhappy, unfulfilled and trapped in a marriage. You witness the passion and spark that grows within both women when they come together - and equally the heartbreak when they are separated. Weston is able to capture, quite seamlessly, the life older LGBTQ+ people, only two generations removed, had to experience - the fake exterior paired with the deeply unhappy interior.
What is most striking about Weston’s film is its lack of dialogue; there are very little words spoken throughout the film. It’s all told through imagery: movement, glances, touches and expressions. Weston so beautifully captures the emotional energy of these women that words would only hinder. Between Weston’s stunning direction, the production’s exquisite sets and costumes and the actresses phenomenal performances, Wings is a beautiful and tender love story that ultimately ends with a happily-ever-after.
Wings can be viewed as part of the Norwich Film Festival’s 2020 programme, streaming online now. It is nominated for Best East Anglian Film.
Director Jonathan Blagrove, 2020
Jonathan Blagrove’s newest short, Hold, is minimalistic in style: the entire film takes place over the course of 5 minutes within a single space. Tommy (Robert Whitelock) has succumbed to a life of crime after losing his career as a building contractor, and during a late-night heist, he receives a series of phone calls that call attention to the consequences of one’s actions.
Blagrove’s film effortlessly captures in only 9 minutes the thrill of a heist movie and the tension of a drama. Blagrove blends genres that seemingly shouldn’t work: social realism paired with a thriller isn’t a typical combination. But he finds a way to bring the two together, creating a film that leaves you intrigued for more. Tension, claustrophobia, pressure and anxiety are all conveyed with the narrow and tight setting of a car. Yet, the dialogue and narrative remind you that there is a world beyond the parked vehicle. You, like Tommy, are itching to get out of the small space, attempting to break free from the suffocating world you’ve become immersed in.
Hold is reminiscent of Steven Knight’s 2013 film Locke, which also follows a man in a car taking several phone calls. But perhaps where Hold gains more favour over Locke is its short film format; it feels as if it's a piece of a larger whole. You’re left intrigued by the story, wanting to know more about Tommy and his situation, but aren’t bogged down by long passages of only dialogue. Blagrove’s short is an exciting and interesting new short that looks to push the boundaries of genre filmmaking.
Hold can be viewed as part of the Norwich Film Festival’s 2020 programme, streaming online now. It is nominated for Best East Anglian Film.