MANIFF: Shorts Screening Two

The Manchester film festival had forty-one short films being shown in seven different screenings throughout the weekend. I’ve picked out the two that I felt stood out the most from MANIFF’s second shorts screening.

The Silent Man
The Silent Man is an odd comedy with an interesting premise revolving around Annie (Sophie Kennedy Clarke), the films lead, losing her romantic partner, and in retaliation ordering a life size sex doll (Cian Barry) in his image. Her neighbour Aaron (Simon Amstel) notices and investigates (and also masturbates over). The movie progresses to Annie essentially losing her mind with Aaron continuing to investigate. There’s some great use of sound design with trains on a television being used to convey a deep sense of tension amongst the bleak comedy of the rest of the film.  It’s a lovely little romp that garnered plenty of laughs throughout and features a great cast. Certainly one to check out if you get the chance.

Juliet Remembered
Juliet Remembered is a short by English actress and director Tamzin Mechant, about an actress who has grown old and become ailed with dementia. She can’t remember her son but can remember her favourite Shakespearean role as Juliet from Romeo and Juliet so she lives out her life everyday playing the character. It features Maggie Steed as Juliet, Rakhee Thakrar as Deena and Mathew Lewis (of Harry Potter and Bluestone 42 fame) as Toby; both of which are nurses at Juliet’s care home. The film follows Juliet living out various scenes from the play as Deena tries to treat her normally, eventually Toby steps in and recites lines from Romeo and Juliet in retaliation to her causing her to be slightly surprised but she then happily joins in. Strong comedy one-liners fill the film, the line “Sounds like Communism” being particularly amusing.

These films were the two out of the five shown in the second session that piqued my interest the most. The Silent Man is a great bleak comedy that starts quite suddenly and odd but dives straight into brilliant comedy. Juliet Remembered tells a beautiful small story that has love, comedy and tragedy; much like a Shakespearean play in of itself! I can’t recommend these films enough.

We teamed up with Humanity Hallows to bring you complete coverage of the Manchester International Film Festival. You can view the full list of reviews which is being updated as we post new content here.

Zac Gardiner

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