41 short film screenings were featured over the Manchester International Film Festival weekend, Mathew Richardson of the Paper Mattress Film Company, runs through his thoughts on those shown in MANIFF’s seventh screening.
One Last Dance
One Last Dance made its UK premiere this year at Manchester International Film Festival. Set in the faded grandeur of Herne Bay on the Kent coast, One Last Dance tells the story of three generations of men, lost love and the intimacy of a dance. The legendary actor Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean) plays Jon, an old man, who on a visit to his grandson’s dance competition sees a vision of his late wife, played by Sara Kestelman. They dance, giving Jon a chance to reconnect with his past and reignite his passion for life.
The Record: The World’s Largest Family
Another film that made its UK premiere is the hilarious Australian comedy The Record: The World’s Largest Family. Sketch comedy duo Veronica Milsom & Steen Raskopoulos transport the viewer into the world of would-be record breakers in this fictional documentary about an absurdly large family.
Manchester International Film Festival saw the World Premiere of Real Artists, a new sci-fi short about AI and the future of filmmaking based on the short story by Hugo award winning science fiction and fantasy writer Ken Liu. Sophia Baker (Tiffany Hines) is an aspiring animator whose talent secured her an interview at a top film studio. Semaphore Studios futuristic style rejects the conventional process of filmmaking, leading Sophia to feel uncertain of whether to accept or decline their offer after discovering the truth of the modern “creative” process.
Confection is a comedy set in a sleepy English seaside town about seventeen-year-old Eli Bloom, an earnest misanthrope, who finds himself accidentally catapulted into the thick of a very grown-up situation when on work experience, shadowing an old acquaintance of his – the boss of a once prosperous (but now struggling) local confectionery business. Eli is set the unpleasant challenge of ringing up disgruntled customers to solicit new business. After a series of fruitless calls, Eli calls up a woman named Harriet and, in a terrible blunder, unintentionally exposes that her husband has been having an affair. Mortified, Eli decides to pay Harriet a visit to claim he has made a mistake. But when he turns up, he is horrified to discover that Harriet is no other than his English teacher, Ms. Kripps The situation jolts Eli out of his lazy pessimism and he responds with the warped logic that by ‘putting things right’ for the other lovesick people he has met – his Delia-Smith obsessed neighbour Mr. Heritage; the waitress at the seafront café and boss Brian Ample himself that he can atone for the destruction he unintentionally caused, and in some way create some happiness for those who might not have felt it in a long time.
The Fuzz follows a police officer that struggles to deal with his dark past and fights to differ from his abusive father now that he is a parent. His turbulent relationships suffer because of his life-long anger, yet it is apparent that he has a softer side when with his loved ones. Throughout the film, the police officer speaks directly to the viewer as he walks about during his and initially we see the lighter side. He is charismatic and funny at times, coming out with quips like “There’s two things I hate; racists… and vegans”. And even when it cuts to his home life we see positive memories with his family, such as building his son’s presents for his birthday and having a laugh with his wife, but periodically when he reflects on his hatred of his father and the abuse he suffered as a child, we see the other side of the coin, and the cycle of violence and anger repeat itself at home and in work. Like one of Alan Bennett’s Taking Heads monologues, the viewer gets to know a character with multiple layers and the viewer feels tremendous pathos for his internal struggle.
Land of Exodus
The multi-award winning Land of Exodus shows the story of a Mexican street kid with hopes of making it to America, as he helps a recently kidnapped American teenager cross the American boarder. On the way he confronts the harsh realities of the border from both sides.
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.