REVIEW: Last Night at the Film Festival


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REVIEW: Our take on last night’s showings at the Winchester Film Festival

It was a rather blustery evening as I made my way to the Science Centre for Tuesday’s set of screenings in the Film Festival – one carried in partnership with the Winchester Film Society.

The society shows films here every other Tuesday, and the auditorium was packed. There’s a great sound system with the films projected at such a height level that you can lie back in the seats and enjoy them

The Festival’s director – John Hayes – urged us to take advantage of the opportunity to see the films – and to let the films linger in our memories, to get thinking.

First up was ‘Maneki Neko’ – which is the name given to a Japanese talisman to bring good luck to people – directed by Manolis Mavris.  It tells the tale of an unexpected encounter of two strangers while waiting for a cab to share the cost of the ride – but their driver tells them that they actually know each other.

film festival

The Maneki Neko in question was on the dashboard of his taxi. I particularly liked the overhead shots in this film which had me wondering ‘how did they do that’? The film has been nominated for many awards across the globe, including ‘Best Editing’ – and it shows.

Next was ‘Eternal Recurrence of a Deep Sleep’ – a superb film from Iran that followed the lives of random people, all ending up at the scene of a car accident.

film festival

It didn’t take long for me to realise that this was a film created in one take. It’s a very difficult decision – and a bold one – to take this step, but if it works – like this one did – then hats off! Apparently, the cameraman was told that he could follow the actor he chose along the way as they all knew the script and where it might end up. Wow.

Then came ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for the Ping-Pong room and my Girlfriend’ – some gentle comedy!

film festival

This too was good, set in an alpine environment where people go to for some ‘wellness’. Except in this case, there was a split between boy and girl – then it was boy meets girl again except the ping-pong room and a younger boy got in the way. What impressed me was the line-up of logos in the film credits which showed just how much backing had been secured.  Great, gentle fun.

‘Child’ came next – a Dutch drama (originally called ‘Kind’) – that tried to tell how and why a mother would cross the line with a colleague’s daughter while on a trip to a museum. The director, Joren Molter, is only 25 but has been making films since the age of 16.

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As John told me later, this was the film to REALLY think about. Shocking, yet revealing that child abuse is all around us. Anyone. Anywhere.

Finally, a very short animated film called ‘Pure White’ – I’m always in awe of those who can create animation, and this was no exception.

As the evening ended, the blustery weather had given way to horizontal rain – and I drove home… thinking… about what I’d seen, and what Wednesday evening’s films may bring